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ICD Customs Scrip Scam inching towards CBI Probe

 

AIT News Network

 

NEW DELHI. 16th April 2016. Scrip scam of ICD TKD Delhi is all set to take its toll as not only the involvement of Two Dozen High Profile CHAs and Senior Customs Officers is under scanner but the scam has become murkier after a Daily Wager who was identified as prime suspect by the Investigators is learnt to have blackmailed the Customs Officers that in case he is made a scapegoat he will expose the deep rooted corruption in ICD and whos is who of ICD Customs will be inviting the trouble. It is heard that the said Daily Wager was a collection agent of Officers and was working under control and supervision of Officers. It could not be ascertained whether Daily Wager was on the rolls of the Customs Department or was a private person unofficially assisting the Customs Officers in clearance of goods through scrips. 

 

According to sources; the scamsters adopted a unique modus operandi and smuggled the goods without payment of customs duty on the strength of scrips issued by DGFT through which the customs duty is allowed to be debited. For example; if a scrip authorised duty exemption up to Rs.10 Lakh; the customs duty of Rs. 1 Crore was debited against the said scrip by feeding the same number of scrip again and again.

 

Recently there was an incident of fire in Customs Office of ICD and it is learnt that original records related to clearances under scrips were burnt in the fire. Whether the cause of fire was natural or unnatural; it has already become a subject matter of enquiry whether this was a strategy by scamsters to destroy the evidence as the noose was tightening on them. But EDI system has sufficient evidence about the clearance of goods by using the scrips. 

 

It is learnt that Customs Officers have claimed that their passwords of EDI systems were hacked and used, misused and abused by a Daily Wager and thus they have no role in smuggling of goods by fraudulent use of scrips; and they have been cheated and fooled by the Daily Wager. If smart Customs Officers whose job is to catch smugglers are so dumb that they can be fooled by a Daily Wager; they do not deserve to continue in such sensitive position. Even EDI system shows the details of last login by the user whenever one logs in every time and SOP requires frequent change of password.

 

But Senior Officers cannot think beyond role of a Daily Wager who himself cannot do scam of such magnitude without involvement of CHAs and other persons. Not only Customs Officers but also the suspect Daily Wager deserve full opportunity to explain their conduct. Long back when there was Drawback scam in Delhi Customs; an internal Probe by Commissioner of Customs identified a Daily Wager and some Customs Officers as prime suspect in Drawback scam and the matter was referred to CBI pinpointing the Daily Wager and Officers. When CBI investigated the matter; it was found that neither daily Wager nor Customs Officers were involved; but a Senior Officer of NIC (which maintains EDI systems) was ultimately arrested by CBI after being found involved in scam.

 

It is learnt that a powerful lobby of CHA is opposing CBI enquiry. But the current scam needs to be urgently referred to CBI in public interest as the Department does neither has the expertise nor resources to investigate such matter and it is a case of Revenue loss by fraud and collusion, so that real culprits are caught and innocent persons come out of the scanner.

 

A posting in ICD TKD is considered as a Lifetime Achievement Award by Customs Officers as the place has ample opportunity to make Big money. An Officer who got his First Award when he got posted as Assistant Commissioner and second as Additional Commissioner in ICD for a long period; managed to get Third Lifetime Award by getting posted as Commissioner, ultimately landed in CBI net. In a Department where most of the Officers retire without seeing ICD; as it is a privileged place for few highly connected officers; the race for getting Lifetime Awards is still continuing; an Officer who already got 4 such awards by getting repeat postings in ICD TKD has managed to get Fifth such award by getting posted for the fifth time. 

 

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