Raymond Group CMD Gautam Singhania paid ₹328 crore in penalties to settle the DRI case of importing 142 cars. DRI had registered a case against the embattled Singhania facing a bitter divorce feud with Nawaz Modi Singhania. The penalties inclusive of interests and differential duties of 15% are paid by Raymond Group unit JK Investors (Bombay).
DRI probe had identified Gautam Singhania as the beneficiary and owner of 138 vintage cars and four R&D vehicles procured from top auction houses worldwide including Sotheby’s, Barret-Jackson and Bonhams.
Singhania-led Raymond Group had allegedly undervalued the imported high-end luxury wheels routed through intermediaries registered in UAE, Hong Kong and the US to evade customs levies and duties of Rs 229.72 crore.
Singhania, a passionate car collector, planned to open a car museum at JK House, Cumballa Hill. The vintage cars were auctioned between 2018-2021 and were imported into India by Raymond Group on invoices raised by overseas-based Bentimi FZC, Almaskan Trading LLC, Truemax Ltd and Orchid HK Ltd evading customs duties of 215.5% applicable on import of vintage and luxury cars.
Gautam Singhania in his statement to DRI accepted full responsibility for the shortfall in customs duty payments.
Raymond Group allegedly "caused presentation of manipulated invoices from the intermediaries before the customs and fully aware of actual values of the vintage cars. The actual value was suppressed and misdeclared filing invoices with lower values to evade customs duties," states the DRI investigation report.
Raymond Group insisted the DRI case was an old matter of erroneous calculation and the matter stands closed.
This story was originally published on the Free Press Journal.
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