250 aircraft seized for duty evasion

July 10th, 2008 - 11:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) The government has seized over 250 aircraft of various corporate houses since 2007 on grounds of evading duty, a top official said. The aircraft came under the scanner as corporate houses had acquired them without paying proper taxes, the official added.

When contacted, the Chief Commissioner of Customs (Prevention), Abhijeet Bhattacharya, refused to share any information. “I cannot share anything. My boys are doing the job. We will let you know, if we have any information,” he told IANS.

Although the authorities did not disclose the extent of duty evasion, sources in the customs department indicated that it could be over Rs.100 billion, including the penalty and the tax due.

According to the law, anyone found guilty of acquiring aircraft on a non-scheduled operator’s permit without paying duty has to pay penalty of up to five times the duty evasion.

The sources said five aircraft were seized this month but were later released after their owners produced papers supporting the purchases.

The customs department is now eyeing other owners of aircraft who may also have evaded taxes while bringing in their planes.

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