The Enforcement Directorate has filed a complaint against a jewellery export and packaging firm in Mumbai for allegedly flouting provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (Fema). The agency claims that the company Ushma Jewellery & Packaging Export is involved in a scam worth Rs 133 crore,in which it allegedly siphoned money showing fictitious gold exports.
The ED claims that Ushma is one of the six companies that has come under its scanner for swindling nearly Rs. 600 crore in the last four years by misusing a government scheme that pays the exporter 80 per cent of the amount upfront to be received from the buyer. The Union Government-controlled MSTC Ltd is believed to have paid this amount to Ushma and five other companies. A showcause notice has been issued to Ushma Jewellery & Packaging Export and its directors. If found guilty,they would be liable to pay a penalty of up to Rs 400 crore,which is three times the sum involved, said an ED official.
According to the agency,during 2008-09 an export of gold jewellery to the tune of Rs 640 crore was made by six Indian companies through MSTC,of which only Rs 40 crore was realised and an amount of Rs 600 crores in foreign exchange is pending. Further investigation is in progress and it is suspected that these amounts have been used to acquire a number of properties, an ED officer said.
The case came into light following a CBI investigation of a related case. The Enforcement Directorate has invoked the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA),2002 in the case on basis of the FIR lodged by CBI Mumbai. Investigations have allegedly revealed that these exporters have diverted the foreign exchange siphoned off to acquire a number of properties. ED claims to have seized proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 13 crore diverted by one of these exporters for purchase of property.
Domestic and international investigations are in progress and a number of property attachments are likely in India and abroad.