As per a report in The Dainik Bhaskar newspaper, Former Sri Lankan Cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya has been accused of smuggling rotten betel nuts into India. The report also has the names of two other cricketers involved but their names are still not confirmed.
The fraud is a tax evasive money laundering deal which if proved, the accused can be jailed. Betel nut translates to ‘Supari’ in Hindi, ‘Adike’ in Kannada, ‘Pākku’ in Tamil, and ‘Vakkapodi’ in Telugu. Used in Pan, or stuffed betel leaves usually consumed after a meal. It is an Addictive Drug for the commoners. That is the reason why it’s smuggling involves punishments and has laws around it.
The report gives us the details of the issue. Betel Nut is worth millions of rupees. Large quantities of it were seized in Nagpur by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence. During the initial investigation, the name of the former cricketer was revealed. He was then summoned to Mumbai for detailed questioning on his links and involvement. The Revenue Intelligence team of India is conducting the investigations.
Permissions and Violations
After their names came to be known, The Revenue Division had sent an official letter on this regards to the Sri Lankan Government to continue their investigation further. The other two unnamed cricketers will also be called here to Mumbai, India for questioning. Soon in December 2018.
Dilip Sivare, the Deputy Director of Revenue Intelligence, has given the reporters further important details on the whole smuggling of Betel Nuts. In his words, ” The betel nuts were brought from Indonesia to Sri Lanka from where they were brought to India. Dummy companies are formed in Sri Lanka for this purpose to draw an illegal advantage out of the SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Area) Act”.
The Act gives a tax break on certain consignments between neighbours Sri Lanka and India especially for goods that are produced indigenously by either of the countries and sold to the other. The friendly ties between the nations, showing up on their trade and commerce are now being misused by tax evaders doing a fraud.
Why were cricketers involved in this? We might wonder. The cricketers have used their Cricket acquired popularity in faking that they have obtained the Trade Licences from the Sri Lankan Government. The permissions taken were under false or fake companies created only for this matter.
All the documents were fake, stamped and certified by these dummy companies authorising self-production. That is, that the nuts were original Sri Lankan variety grown in that country. But, the nuts were from Indonesia. If followed the rules, an import from other nations would cost a 108% tax, not to be mistaken with 8% tax, it is 108%.
The tax can be easily avoided and evaded if they come from Sri Lanka, because of the Trade Agreements between India and Sri Lanka. So the fake documents certifying their place of origin have been created.
All the businessmen from Nagpur who are involved in the dealership will make the most profit by these illegal imports. If this illegal trade goes good, then the cost of import would go down to just a quarter of its original. Like a needle in a haystack, all the spoiled nuts can also be utilised in the business.
Now the businessmen in Sri Lanka sell these rotten betel nuts( from Indonesia) to their Indian counterparts in Nagpur at just 25% of its original price. For Example, betel nut worts Rs 100 crore will now be bought only for Rs 25 crore by Indian businessmen. Furthermore these Indian Businessmen, who are well aware of the spoiled nuts spuriously mix them with betel nuts of good quality in bulk. Adulterated Quality Betel Nuts are now supplied to different parts of the country.
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