Officials from the departments of goods and services tax (GST) and central excise jointly conducted searches on around 200 angadias across the city and seized around 125 packets of diamond, gold jewellery and cash worth Rs 815 million on Thursday.
Angadias act as couriers in the diamond trade. They receive packets from clients, in this case, diamond processors/sellers and jewellery manufacturers/traders in Mumbai, to deliver to other clients in Surat and other places in Gujarat, and so on. Their clients in Mumbai and Surat transact business over telephone. Thereafter, the angadias take charge of delivering the sealed packets of diamond, gold and jewellery between these places.
“We had information on human carriers carrying some parcels containing gold bars, jewellery, diamond and cash coming in. We verified the information and started acting on it. We found around 80 people/carriers carrying cash and valuables, which they should not have carried without paying duty, and we intercepted them. In our investigation, we found some parcels are genuine, as applicable duties are paid on these; a majority of them are found without proper papers. While we will release the parcels on which duties are paid, we’d seize the ones on which duties are not paid. We will also give them opportunity to prove their claims and ask them to pay duties and fines applicable” said K N Raghavan, commissioner, GST and central excise, Mumbai Central.
In a Twitter post, the Indian Revenue Service Officers Association said, “Congratulations to officials of GST Mumbai Central for the surgical operation on Thursday and seizing gold and diamonds worth Rs 780 million; Indian and foreign currency of approx Rs 35 million by striking at the railway station and intercepting carriers coming via Ahmedabad-bound train Gujarat Express.”
This is the first mega crackdown on jewellers to check for tax evasion after the implementation of GST in July 2017.
“The government authorities must have got some information on the possibility of tax evasion. We are sure they would soon clear all packets after verifying them,” said Anoop Mehta, president, Bharat Diamond Bourse, the country’s premier diamond business centre. Courtesy : Business Standard