The accused had been using the modus to overvalue instead of undervaluing to save on import duty, officials said.
Mumbai: Investigation by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) for overvaluation of substandard diamonds revealed that the accused government-approved valuers used the modus operandi of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi.
The accused had been using the modus to overvalue instead of undervaluing to save on import duty, officials said. The reason for such huge corruption in diamond imports is owing to a miniscule 25 per cent on its imports. The arrested accused are Naresh Mehta, Paresh Shah, Pradip Jhaveri (all government-approved valuers) and Vikki Kakkad, who is a custom house agent.
This is the first occasion when government appro-ved valuers have been found to be hand-in-glove with diamond traders. The accused told the DRI that they were lured into giving a favourable report to the crude diamonds with Rs 25 lakh per consignment.
“We are looking deeper into the modus which resembles the Modi-Choksi style for details of the network they used,” said a DRI officer.
This is a common taint in the diamond business that is already under Enforcement Directorate (ED) scrutiny. The Gem Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), a body of ministry of industry and commerce, is meanwhile mulling over taking action against Naresh Mehta who was certified as a valuer by them.
“We have called a board meeting to discuss on what steps can be taken to prevent such incidents. We would also discuss on possible action that can be taken against Mehta,” said Sabyasachi Ray, executive director of GJEPC.
Probe revealed that Shah and Jhaveri accompanied the income-tax (I-T) department in its raids and did spot valuation for them. The racket had been operating for 10 months at least by overvaluing low-grade diamonds. The quantum of fraud is pegged to exponential jump beyond Rs 2,000 crore.