Three persons have been apprehended while one other suspect has fled the country after being implicated in smuggling six container loads of sarees on the pretext of importing fabric for manufacturing purposes.
The Investigative Unit of the Customs Department has concluded its investigation surrounding the smuggling in these six containers from India while the suspects who had been arrested in connection with the transaction have been fined Rs. 8.2 million.
Customs officials reported that the six container loads of sarees had already been distributed to the market while a clearing issue of the seventh container cropped up and alerted Customs officers to the fraudulent transactions.
A fine of Rs. 7.4 million was imposed on the Director and wharf clerk of the Board of Investment (BOI) approved company directly involved in the smuggling operations while the company itself has been exonerated from having any involvement in the imports.
A further fine of around Rs. 800,000 had been imposed on the other suspects who had been in remand for the duration of the investigation.
Customs Department sources told the Sunday Times that the wharf clerk had rejected the clearing of the seventh shipment after which the Customs officials had detained the container.
The suspects had attempted to import sarees on the pretext of importing fabric to avoid paying duty on the items which includes a cess of Rs. 50 per yard, a 5% Ports and Aviation Levy (PAL) and a 1% Social Responsibility Levy (SRL).
Sources said that three suspects were detained and fined heavily while one suspect is alleged to have fled to India. No evidence has been found against the company to which the four individuals are linked.
However, the BOI is considering terminating its agreements with this enterprise.