22-year-old case: Man gets jail term, to pay Rs 5.3-crore fine

A man was sentenced to seven years in jail and directed to pay a fine of Rs 5.3 crore after he was found guilty on charges of committing forgery and cheating the Customs Department to the tune of Rs 4.2 crore, 22 years ago. The special court found five others guilty under sections including two former Customs officials, both now senior citizens. The court also acquitted four others, while two died during the pendency of the trial.

The case dated back to 2000 when it was alleged that the mastermind in the case, Toufiq Gaffar through his employees, created a fictitious company named Rama Syntex Pvt Ltd. The prosecution submitted that the government had launched an Export Oriented Unit scheme to promote exports. Under the scheme, manufacturing or service sector units were allowed to set up units with an objective of exporting their entire stock of manufactured goods. The government would provide duty-free import of raw materials which would be directly sent to the manufacturer’s warehouse and the product would have to be exported.

It was claimed that the fictitious company formed by the accused, through submission of fraudulent documentation, had got 38 consignments cleared, leading to losses to the tune of Rs 4.2 crore to the government. Special Judge S U Wadgaonkar said it was a “white collar offence” affecting the economy of the nation.

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