The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has detected a major case of illegal money laundering to overseas destinations by over-invoicing imports of rough diamonds. DRI received a tip-off that 14 consignments of rough diamonds of very low quality were being imported at Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB), Mumbai with a declared value of Rs 156 crore, which was subsequently accepted by the panel of the expert Valuers. A team of officers from DRI then intercepted the 14 consignments. Upon re-valuation of the said consignments, it was ascertained that these rough diamonds were of inferior quality and actually worth only about Rs 1.2 crore.
The modus operandi used by the people involved was simple. Rough diamonds of cheap quality were imported from overseas destinations like Hong Kong and Dubai in connivance with exporters in these countries. The rough diamonds were procured at grossly overvalued prices. Upon arrival in BDB, the accused, with the assistance of some members of the panel of the Valuers of diamond got the consignments declared to be of ‘fair value’. In the instant case, the overvaluation is to the tune of more than Rs 150 crore. DRI then tracked past consignments based on which it appears that about Rs 2,000 crore has been illegally laundered to overseas destinations like Hong Kong and Dubai.
Four persons have been arrested in this case so far. Cash amounting to Rs. 10 lakh and Demand Drafts amounting to Rs 2.2 crore were recovered in subsequent raids. DRI also found an abnormally huge cache of cheque books, Aadhaar Cards and PAN Cards at one of the premises of the people involved.
Further investigations are on.