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Black Money: Export, Import Firms Under Scanner

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Trade transactions by a host of export and import firms have come under the scanner of central economic intelligence agencies for alleged money laundering and tax evasion.

Sources said Central Economic Intelligence Bureau and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence officials have found details of suspicious trade transactions by some of the firms, based in major industrial hubs of the country including Mumbai, Delhi, Surat and Ludhiana, which were manipulating import and export invoices thereby generating black money.

According to preliminary probe based on assessment of past two year trade transactions, a number of 'fly by night' exporters and importers (who only export or import goods once and then vanish) have been found in routing of black money and the officials are trying to ascertain their whereabouts, they said.
"We have come to know over 100 such suspected trade dealings in Middle East, the US and the UK among others. Most of these transactions seem to be dubious and the address of the recipients and booking agents here have been found to be incorrect," a source said.
He said the details of these exports will also be shared with the concerned authorities in those countries.
In addition, economic intelligence agency officials have found certain dubious consignments sent to India, most of which are lying unattended at various air and sea cargo stations, and examining them to know their background.
Last month, the DRI had claimed to have busted over Rs 1,000 crore hawala racket in Punjab involving certain international syndicates and Delhi-based businessmen.
The officials claimed they have exposed the racket while probing a scam by an exporter who fraudulently used inflated bills to misuse a duty drawback scheme run by the Finance Ministry and gained incentives worth Rs 60 crore.
"There has been spurt in activity related to Trade Based Money Laundering (TBML). All field officials have been told to cross check export and import consignments in case of any suspicion," the official said.