Two partners of a ceramic factory in Morbi were arrested by Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCI) for alleged excise duty evasion to the tune of Rs 3.57 crore on Tuesday. Officials of DGCI unit in Rajkot arrested Kaushik Bavarva and Anil Surani after they showed up at the DGCI office here for questioning. The duo, who are partners in Lexona Ceramic in Morbi, had been summoned by the DGCI after the firm did not pay any excise duty for the last eight months beginning from March this year.
“Our investigation has revealed that the Lexona Ceramic had been evading duty since it became operational in year 2012. In March this year, we conducted a raid on the firm and it paid up Rs 15 lakh towards the duty while and committing to pay remaining dues later on. But since then, they have not paid a single rupee. On the contrary, the duo tried to destroy records of invoices of their raw material purchase and ceramic tile sales,” a DGCI officer who was part of the operation told The Indian Express on the condition of anonymity.
DGCI has seized a hard drive from the office of the firm in Morbi and officials said that date stored in the drive revealed that the firm had been evading the duty since 2012. “The total amount after calculation of interest and penalty is likely to double to around Rs6 crore,” the officer further said. Later in the day, DGCI officers produced Bavarva and Surani in a court in the city. The court sent them to judicial custody till December 12. Officers said that Rs3.75 crore duty evasion was the largest to be detected in Morbi, the tile town of India.
“Lexona Ceramic is run by eight partners. But Bavarva and Surani were looking after day-to-day operation of the firm. The remaining six parterns are sleeping parterners who have invested money in the firm and at this stage of investigation, we are not considering them as accused in the case,” the officer added.