DRI puts scanner on foreign private jets

Mumbai: Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has launched a country-wide probe against top corporate houses and high net-worth individuals who illegally operate foreign registered private aircrafts in India leading to Customs duty evasion to the tune of crores of rupees.

The DRI has already begun the process of issuing show-cause notices to a number of such entities after it got relevant information on the alleged illegal operations of a number of high-end jets from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in Delhi.

"The Customs rules state that any foreign registered aircraft is given permission to enter India for a period of six months. Such jets are used to bring in top business honchos and CEOs and heads by Indian corporates for their engagements in the country. The agency is probing the violation of this rule and that if they flew against the norms in the country and nearby foreign countries," sources in the DRI, an enforcement agency under the Finance Ministry, said.

DRI, according to sources, suspects that a number of top-end aircrafts owned by corporate houses flew unannounced sorties in the domestic as well as international airspace through private landing bases and again entered the Indian territory stealthily.

The agency has brought close to 15 corporate houses under its scanner and is suspecting that once they finish their probe, Customs duty evasion worth crores could be detected. The DRI has also contacted the Ministry of Home Affairs in this regard, as the Ministry keeps a detailed log of these aircraft due to the security angle attached to their flying operations.