Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs
North Block, New Delhi-110 001
Tel. No. +91-11-23092849, Fax No. +91-11-23092890
D.O. No. 23/CH(IC)/2020
Date: 13th July 2020
I had in my last letter, promised to pick up the trail of unfinished activities of an action-packed week. I now redeem that commitment.
A well-orchestrated modus operandi by unscrupulous elements to smuggle gold through diplomatic cargo was foiled by Customs officers at the Trivandrum Air Cargo Complex. This significant case, the first of its kind in Kerala, resulted in the recovery of 30 Kgs of gold valued at Rs. 14.82 crores. Investigation in the case is ongoing. My appreciation to Chief Commissioner Shri Shyam Raj Prasad, and especially Commissioner Shri Sumit Kumar along with their dedicated team of officers for this excellent detection and the untiring and sustained work of investigation right through the week and beyond.
The Covid period has tested the alertness of our anti-evasion teams and our officers have not been found wanting. Delhi Customs (Preventive) officers have affected two seizures of Cigarettes based on specific intelligence. On 10.07.2020, 10 lakh Cigarettes were seized at New Delhi Railway station. The cigarettes were recovered from a COVID-19 special train coming from Varanasi to Delhi. Another case resulted in a seizure of 9 lakh Cigarettes. In total, 19 lakh cigarette sticks valued at around Rs 1.56 crores were seized. My congratulations to Shri Gurdeep Singh, Pr. Commissioner, Shri Hemant Kumar, Deputy Commissioner and their team of officers for the good work done.
Based on specific intelligence, DGGI Hqrs has detected GST evasion by a large number of grain-based distilleries on ‘wet distilled grains with solubles’ (WDGS) / ‘dried distilled grains with solubles’ (DDGS). These are distillery waste and dregs arising as a by-product in the process of manufacturing ethanol. The distilleries had classified the goods in the Central Excise regime under CH2303. They were however now allegedly misdeclaring it as animal / cattle feed under CH2309, which attracts nil rate of tax under GST. Many of the suppliers have admitted the liability and recovery of over Rs. 20 crores has been made till date. Had it not been for the diligence of DGGI this would not have come to notice in this sector the major activities of which normally come under state excise control.
A very interesting offshoot of verification of clearances of DDGS at a Bhopal-based distillery was the discovery by Bhopal DGGI Zone of large-scale evasion of GST on clandestine removal of alcohol-based hand sanitisers. The distillery has clandestinely cleared a huge quantity of hand sanitiser in bottles as well as in bulk form, involving GST evasion of over Rs 30 crores. The directors of the company have been arrested. They have voluntarily paid Rs 8 crores so far. Other zones may also verify clearances of the above products within their jurisdiction without any impediment to compliant clearances of what has now become a very essential commodity.
Congratulations to Pr. DG DGGI Shri O. P. Dadhich, Shri Sandeep Prakash, Pr. ADG, Hqrs. Shri S.Satyanarayanan, JD, DGGI, Chennai, Shri. Abhishek Jain, AD, DGGI Bhopal and their team of officers for their success in booking these cases.
DRI too has reported that in a series of cases they have seized 5400 kg of Ganja through Patna Regional Unit, Agartala Regional Unit and Varanasi Sub Regional Unit. I am also given to understand that Shri Rakesh Ranjan, SlO Patna Regional Unit had contributed immensely to these cases setting aside his personal hardships. I commend him for his sense of duty.
Turning from duty evasion to officer staff welfare, I was glad to note that, to overcome the difficulties faced by officers and staff and their families of procuring groceries during the stringent Covid related lock-down, Pune Zone had taken up a proposal with Kendriya Bhandar to establish a branch of their store in the office and residential complex. This first of its kind venture in Pune will go a long way to enable officers and staff in procuring reasonably priced groceries easily and at a safe, proximate location. I have also been told that the flooring / furnishing and electrical fittings were installed with unprecedented speed and efficiency by CPWD’s Civil & Electrical wings. Congratulations to the Chief Commissioner Ms Krishna Mishra and her team of officers of the zone along with personnel of the Kendriya Bhandar and CPWD departments. While certain zones already have similar facilities, other zones could also think of providing such facilities to their staff.
Testing of samples is a very critical aspect of proper classification and assessment of goods. Timely and accurate analysis of imported goods has been a challenge for many years. To resolve these issues, over the past three years, CRCL and other Revenue Laboratories have been upgraded at an estimated cost of Rs. 90 crores. Several new state of art equipment have been procured. Use of this equipment with new analytical techniques has enabled the laboratories to test a wider variety of commodities in lesser time and with greater accuracy. CRCL has prepared a brochure to show case and increase awareness about its new capabilities with the help of real cases. This would make departmental officers aware of the new capabilities of our labs and how these could be utilized to enhance trade facilitation and better enforcement. I compliment Director, CRCL Shri Sandeep Prakash for taking the initiative to modernise our labs and also bring out this brochure. I also commend the efforts of Dr. T.A. Sreenivasa Rao, Joint Director, and Shri Pradeep Maroo, CE-II in preparing this informative brochure.
Turning the focus to the economy, as mentioned in my last letter, with economic activity picking up, our focus should be back on revenue collection and trade facilitation. Our efforts in ensuring timely collection of legitimate taxes would facilitate the targeted delivery of the fiscal support package.
I have received a very timely and useful suggestion from Shri Manish Sinha, Commissioner, to create a zonal repository of Covid-recovered officers who are willing to donate plasma to save lives. Details of their telephone numbers and blood groups can be compiled at the zonal level for emergency use. Their plasma would be life saving for those infected. A noble initiative. I leave you with that thought while I wish you all a safe and healthy week ahead.
(M. Ajit I r6ar)
All Officers and Staff of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs