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DRI hunts for the rich with costly cravings.

AFTER luxury cars and watches, health drugs are in demand and smugglers with global connections are out to cater to the needs of the wealthy.

According to Directorate of Revenue Intelligence ( DRI) officials, the department is gathering increasing intelligence on smuggling of expensive health drugs, most of which are unavailable in the country, and modern fitness equipment, which are being smuggled in at cheap price to evade taxes.

Sources said that people of Indian origin based in Canada and the US are also playing a key role in this illegal activity. DRI sources said that smuggling and duty evasion running into tens of crores could be unearthed in the coming weeks. The syndicate probably has a strong connection with Ludhiana, which is a major import and export centre in north India.

Ludhiana, which houses a number of big and medium industrial houses, thrives on non- resident Indian population.

Its facility of Inland Container Depot makes it a hub for import and export of goods.

These drugs also include newer forms of aphrodisiacs. Some DRI officials with whom MAIL TODAY spoke declined to reveal the exact names of these goods. DRI is still gathering intelligence on these goods, they said.

" Grey business is dictated by the economy. International pharma companies do not sell many products in India due to various reasons, including patent or lack of adequate market. It would be years before these products and equipment are available in India. It has given birth to a thriving grey market," an official said.

DRI is increasingly diverting attention to cases of tax evasion besides smuggling of expensive items as the government feels that these relatively innocuous crimes, which are not as dangerous as smuggling of fake Indian currency notes or illegal drugs-- both of which have long been at the centre of the enforcement agency's radar-- are causing huge losses to the economy.

In an attempt to recover tax evaded by high net worth individuals from the government, finance minister P. Chidambaram has formed a committee of officials drawn from Central Board of Direct Taxes, Central Board of Excise and Customs, Central Economic Intelligence Bureau and Financial Intelligence Unit to track 20,581 cases of transactions where they are suspected to have evaded taxes.

The agency has seized close to 2,000 luxury watches worth over ` 75 crore this year in an operation which was largely concentrated in the Capital but had pan- India dimensions.

DRI is diverting attention to cases of tax evasion besides smuggling

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Nov 24, 2012
Words:431
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