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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

DRI busts luxury car smuggling racket, 3 held

The probe has found that luxury cars were imported to India from the UK, Japan and UAE, in the names of diplomats.

Written by Khushboo Narayan | Mumbai |
Updated: July 17, 2021 4:04:23 pm
The seized luxury cars. (Express Photos)

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted a luxury car smuggling racket involving the use of diplomatic privileges and arrested the chief executive officer (CEO) of Gurugram-based luxury car dealer Big Boy Toyz, Nipun Miglani, and two others. The agency has also impounded six luxury cars.

The company founder had distanced himself from the accused after he was informed about the illegal activity.

The DRI operation, named Monte Carlo, carried out in seven cities, has found that more than 20 luxury vehicles have been smuggled into India in the name of diplomats over the past five years and, subsequently, diverted to private people resulting in duty evasion of over Rs 25 crore.

Imports made by foreign diplomats and missions in India are governed by the Foreign Privileged Persons (Regulation of Customs Privileges) Rules, 1957. The Indian government grants customs exemption to certain classes of members of Diplomatic Missions in India and their family members on all imported goods.

Typically, the customs duty on imported motor cars works out to 204 per cent on the original price of a vehicle.

According to the DRI, the mastermind of the smuggling racket is a Dubai-based person, who has been accused of evasion in other cases too. The probe has found that luxury cars were imported to India from the UK, Japan and UAE, in the names of diplomats.

In India, Miglani of Big Boy Toyz allegedly identified buyers and these cars were directly ferried to them, said sources.

“The domestic registration for these vehicles was done at certain Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) in Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. Once registered, these cars were sold to the Indian buyers, thereby making a huge profit at the cost of government revenue,” a DRI official said.

During investigation, the DRI followed one such import in the name of a Delhi-based diplomat of an African nation. The imported car, in this case, was taken to a showroom in Andheri in Mumbai and placed for display, sources said. “So far, six cars have been seized under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962. More cars have been identified and are in the process of being located,” the DRI official said.

Meanwhile, reacting to the DRI probe, founder of Big Boy Toyz, Jatin Ahuja, in a statement, said: “Big Boy Toyz, in the last 10 years, has not been associated with any import or export of luxury cars. We only deal within India, and as an organisation, weren’t involved in any kind of illegal practice with Nipun Miglani via the organisation. Please note that any illegal activity done by Miglani has been carried out in his personal capacity. The stated allegations were exercised by Miglani outside the organisation and beyond office hours. BBT wasn’t aware about any such practice, and as soon as we were intimated about the same, we terminated his employment and association with the organisation effective immediately. Our legal team is also working towards taking the necessary actions.”

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