The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has alerted the custom departments across the country to keep strict vigilance to avoid smuggling of infrared thermometres into the country from China. The move was taken knowing the fact that the demand for such thermometres has seen a sudden boost due to Wuhan coronavirus in the country.
An official said, “The DRI has sent an alert to inland container depots and the cargo airport in Delhi and other places across the country, dealing with the import and export of commodities from abroad, among others asking them to be vigilant about such smuggling.”
He claimed that a tip-off has revealed that the infrared thermometres can be illegally imported into Indian borders and can be sold at a mis-declared rate. Any material imported to the country can be under-invoiced with an intention to evade the custom department and defrauding the government exchequer.
In this method, the invoice which is filed with the authorities for the imports is falsified to show that the price of the material is lower than the actual price which is being paid by the importer abroad. The free trade zone of Dubai is also on the radar of custom officials.
As per reports, India has lost a staggering $13 billion (over 90,000 crore rupees) due to smuggling. This loss is equal to 5.5 percent of the country’s total revenue collection in 2016 as mentioned by US-based think-tank Global Financial Integrity.
An infrared thermometre which is usually used for reading the temperature while avoiding contact may cost between 3,500 to 8,000 rupees. An official said, “A strict vigilance is maintained to thwart such attempts to cause damage to the Indian economy and the local manufacturers.”
Directorate of Revenue intelligence
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence(DRI) is a federal economic intelligence unit that reports to Finance ministry. The agency keeps a check on commercial frauds such as smuggling etc.
As per reports, on May 13, 2500 kg of raw materials for making face masks was intercepted by air cargo export. Adding to that, the customs officials have intercepted many consignments including 5.08 lakh masks, 57 liters of sanitizer in 950 bottles, and 952 PPE kits at the courier terminal in New Delhi. These goods were also attempted to be smuggled in UK, US, and UAE.
To avoid the scrutiny from the customs officials, the goods were termed as packing materials. The government of India has banned the export of such goods. The customs department of Chennai also exposed smuggling of 1000 kg of sanders wood to Malaysia.
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, many countries have locally increased the production of such products. They ordered their import after they note a possible shortage owing to domestic demands.