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December 6, 2001
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CBI chargesheets Virender Rastogi in Rs 430 mn duty drawback scam

Influential London-based non-resident Indian businessman Virender Rastogi and six others were on Thursday chargesheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Rs 430 million duty draw back scam.

The chargesheet was filed in a designated court in Bombay Thursday evening and the special judge took cognizance of the chargesheet filed by the investigating agency, highly-placed agency sources said in New Delhi.

The case came to light after the Customs department in Bombay initiated a departmental enquiry against 18 of its officials for passing the consignment of one Allied Deals without any verification.

The Customs department had referred the matter of departmental action to Central Vigilance Commission, which in turn asked the CBI to probe the matter.

According to the chargesheet, the CBI alleged that five companies, whose directors were the four Rastogi brothers -- Subash, Virender, Ravinde and Narinder -- exported bicycle parts during 1995-96 to Russia and Hong Kong by heavily over invoicing the value of goods with the objective of dishonestly claiming excess duty draw back from customs.

Except for Subash, who was arrested by the CBI on September 8, all other brothers were settled out of the country and the agency was initiating appropriate action for their extradition.

According to the chargesheet, the CBI alleged that the five companies had conspired to cheat the government and "knowingly over invoiced the value of export goods by nearly 15 to 20 times."

The CBI said that during the investigations the agency had found that the purchases of bicycle parts were not supported by any valid purchase vouchers as the firms owned by the Rastogi brothers had no manufacturing facilities.

The agency said that the five companies, run by four brothers and one of their cousins, had the same address in New Delhi.

The chargesheet also alleged that during investigations it was revealed that the purported supplier companies were found to be non-existing though payment for the alleged purchases have been shown by the accused through cheques.

However, the CBI said these accounts were opened to facilitate realisation of cheques only.

The chargesheet said that other cases are also under probe against the associated companies managed by the same set of accused persons, which had also adopted the same modus operandi to export bicycle parts at heavily over invoiced value to dishonestly claim excess duty draw back.

Besides the four Rastogi brothers, the others chargesheeted by CBI are Brij Kishore Gupta, Rakesh Kumar Rastogi (cousin) and Anand Jain under criminal conspiracy and other sections of IPC (Indian Penal Code) including forgery.

But for the chargesheet, Subash Rastogi, who has been under judicial custody, could have moved for a bail on Thursday after the completion of 90 days in custody.

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