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Eleven firms under scanner for duty evasion in import of general aviation aircraft news
22 August 2008

New Delhi: Indian Customs officials have said that as many as 200 general aviation aircraft, owned by non-schedule operators, are being looked at for evasion of custom duties. Eleven corporate entities have already been issued show-cause notices for customs duty evasion and the is number is likely to increase with current investigations looking at a larger number of firms.

Among the private entities that have been issued show-cause notices are Reliance Commercial Dealers (Reliance Industries subsidiary), Reliance Transport and Travels (Anil Dhirubhai Ambani entity), GMR Aviation, East India Hotels and Bharat Hotels.

According to Customs department sources, more than 16 aircraft have been brought in without payment of customs duty. Apparently a large number of companies are also guilty of importing parts for such aircraft by wrongly identifying themselves as non-schedule aircraft operators, who are entitled for duty exemptions.

Though firm figures for the full extent of the scam have not been estimated as yet, sources opine that it may well be in the region of Rs1,000 crore.

The investigation into duty evasion by corporate houses in the import of aircraft began in June this year after Customs authorities realised that aircraft and parts imported under non-scheduled operators permit for public transport were being diverted for personal use.

Import of aircraft and parts for personal use is taxable while those imported for non-scheduled operations remain duty-free.

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Eleven firms under scanner for duty evasion in import of general aviation aircraft