Hyderabad: In one of the biggest frauds detected at an ornament manufacturing unit in the Gems and Jewellery Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Shamshabad, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence identified that around 1,100 kg of gold amounting to over Rs 330 crores had been diverted to the local markets of Hyderabad.
The DRI arrested four persons including the managing director of Sri Krishna Jewellers, and are carrying out further investigation to identify whom the diverted gold was sold to. Acting on a tip, DRI sleuths installed surveillance cameras at one of the units present in the SEZ in Ravirala village, Shamshabad, and found that the unit was indulging in fraudulent export and in the illegal diversion of the SEZ gold into the local market.
Officials said that the unit had acquired a license to import gold, manufacture gold jewellery, and to export the same to foreign countries. However, it was found that the unit under surveillance had been declaring false information of export consignments in its records. Upon the examination of a consignment of the suspect unit, it was found that it had been exporting large quantities of stones with very little traces of gold, which is technically the opposite of what their license permits.
“One of their consignments, which was declared to contain about 19 kg of gold and two kg of semi-precious stones, was found to contain only 565 grams of gold and 20.85 kg in stones. Further, the consignment was claimed to be worth `5.45 crores. However, upon evaluation, it was found to be worth only `22.16 lakh,” a DRI official told the DC.
The official went on to explain that the gold generated out of the modus operandi of the unit was being diverted and sold in the local market. “A consignment containing about 10 kg of foreign marked gold which was being diverted to the local market was intercepted and seized.”
During examination by the DRI, major discrepancies were also found in the stock held at the SEZ unit and at another unit owned and managed by the same group in Banjara Hills.
The falsely declared stock, which includes 21 kg of foreign marked SEZ gold, 6.8 kg of gold jewellery, 491 kg of semi-precious stones, and other material involved in the fraud, all valued at `14.87 crores, has been seized by the DRI following the 3-day raids. “Preliminary investigation has revealed that the unit has diverted about 1,100 kg of gold, worth over `330 crore. Four persons have been apprehended in the case. Further investigation is underway to identify where the gold was diverted to and to locate the beneficiaries,” said the official, unwilling to name the arrested persons.
According to our sources, Pradeep Kumar, vice-chairman and MD of Sri Krishna Jewellers, was arrested on May 5, and his aide Venkateshwar Rao was placed under arrest on Monday. Mr Kumar’s family members met him at the Chanchalguda Central Prison on Tuesday. He was admitted as prisoner number UT 1318. Mr Kumar’s advocate has reportedly approached the Nampally Court seeking special facilities at the prison....