Raymond Group unit JK Investors (Bombay) pays Rs 328 crore to settle a case of alleged customs duty evasion filed by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) over the import of 142 cars. The amount paid includes differential duty along with interest and penalty applicable at 15 per cent.
The Group’s chairman & managing director Gautam Singhania was identified as the “beneficial owner”, under whose instructions, procurement of 142 cars was undertaken which included 138 vintage ones and four R&D vehicles, according to an ET report. Group’s companies bought the cars from famous auction houses such as Sotheby’s, Barrett-Jackson and Bonhams. The undervalued cars, dispatched through intermediary companies registered in the United Arabs Emirates, Hong Kong and the United States, caused a revenue loss of Rs 229.72 crore to the exchequer.
The cars, bought between 2018 and 2021, were directly sent to India from the US and the UK. However, to evade customs duty of 251.5 per cent applicable on the import of vintage cars, invoices submitted to Indian customs were raised in the names of companies such as Almaskan Trading LLC, Orchid HK Ltd, Semsa International FZ , Bentimi FZC, Truemax Ltd and Cactus International FZC, based in Dubai, the US and Hong Kong.
Singhania had expressed his fondness for the vintage cars and was planning to set up a museum in JK House. DRI in its report said that the company declared wrong values in the bills of entry and also presented incorrect invoices before Indian customs.
During the probe held between January 27 and February 1, 2022, DRI conducted searches on premises linked to the Raymond Group including JK House, Singhania’s Mumbai residence. The agency also retrieved email and chats which revealed the actual prices.
Singhania accepted the case against him and said in his statement that he took full responsibility for the shortfall in customs duty payments.