Customs officials seize two Reliance Industries aircraft

July 4th, 2008 - 9:03 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 4 (IANS) Two aircraft owned by the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries group were seized for alleged evasion of customs duties to the extent of Rs.574.2 million but the group Friday said there was no wrongdoing on its part and that it was a “matter of routine”. A spokesperson for the customs division at the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) said the aircraft were imported under a special scheme for charter services that permits a lower customs duty of 10 percent.

But group chairman Mukesh Ambani was using the aircraft for personal purposes, which calls for a higher duty of 18 percent, the spokesperson said, giving the reasons for Thursday’s seizure.

“A show cause has been issued regarding one aircraft - an Airbus A-319 - which we say was being used for personal purposes. A demand for Rs.57.42 crore (Rs.574.2 million) has been made,” the spokesperson told IANS.

“We have, nevertheless, released the aircraft provisionally.”

A subsequent statement from Reliance Industries also acknowledged the development but said the company had complied with the rules.

“The concerned authorities, as a matter of routine procedure, have sent out notices to several non-scheduled operators,” the statement said.

“As part of this routine procedure, two of Reliance Commercial Developers Pvt Ltd’s aircraft were detained and handed back to the company thereafter. Reliance is fully complying with all procedures as notified by the concerned authorities.”

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