About 13 years ago, Bollywood film producer Bharat Shah and his partner in a diamond export unit, Suken Mehta, defaulted on duty payment to the tune of Rs. 30 crore, the sum includes the duty, penalty and interest for the said years. Now post a seemingly endless litigation, the Mumbai Customs has attached the properties of both Shah and his partner to recover the amount.
The attached properties include Shah’s flat at Swapnalok building, Malabar Hill area, his office in The Plaza, Hughes Road area, partner Mehta’s flat at Sterling Apartment on Peddar Road in South Mumbai and their factory in SEEPZ at suburban Andheri.
Apparently, the duo had paid up a sum of Rs. 5 crore sometime back, however the remaining amount was still outstanding. While officials from the customs stated that if the said amount is not received the attached properties would be auctioned as per procedure.
For the uninitiated, the case dates back to 2000 involving alleged irregularities in import and export of diamonds, when a survey by officers of Customs had discovered that BV Jewels was not maintaining proper records and accounts resulting in detection of cut and polished diamonds without payment of duty. Following a detailed inquiry, the Customs had then issued a notice, which was challenged by the company before a Customs Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT). The firm was granted relief by the Tribunal following which the Customs authorities moved the Supreme Court in 2003.