Court acquits NRI bizman in 1998 Audi car import scam
Mumbai: Over 24 years after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) busted an Audi car import racket, the Esplanade metropolitan magistrate court last week acquitted an NRI businessman as the prosecution failed to adduce any evidence
Mumbai: Over 24 years after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) busted an Audi car import racket, the Esplanade metropolitan magistrate court last week acquitted an NRI businessman as the prosecution failed to adduce any evidence.
City-based car dealer Sadiq Futehally, the proprietor of Ashiya Motors, was at the centre of the purported import scam, however, the case against him was abated after he died on February 5, 2009. The court tried Sushil Jolly, 72, against whom the prosecution examined only one witness, without furnishing any documentary evidence.
As per the case, between 1987 and 1989, Ashiya Motors had imported several Audi cars to India. It was alleged that under the import policy in vogue at the time, import of the cars was permissible only to NRIs who had paid for the cars in question from their earnings abroad, but in respect of most of the cars imported by Futehally’s firm, there was no evidence to show that such payment from foreign earnings was made.
Besides, it was the prosecution’s case that the cars were actually of higher capacity and their prices were mis-declared and under-valued in invoices. As per the case, Jolly had lent his name, passport and other details for consideration to enable M/S Ashiya Motors to allegedly import the cars. Later, the cars were transferred to Ashiya Motors. The prosecution also claimed that under the rules prevailing at the time, such transfer was not permitted.
The department had claimed that Futehally had paid commission to people for permitting their names to be used, but the entire import and sales were carried out by him. Further, it was revealed in the probe that M/s Futehally Ltd, Osaka, Japan was making payments for these imports to Volkswagen, Germany and Futehally had 20% shareholding in the Osaka company.
A complaint was filed on October 6, 1998, but the charges in the case were framed only on January 30, 2023. The prosecution examined only one witness—the investigating officer of the case.
“It is required to note that, except the complainant no witness is examined. The complainant only stated about receiving statutory sanction from the concerned authority and filing the complaint. Even if the contents of the complaint are considered as they are, there is no document to corroborate it,” the magistrate court said while acquitting Jolly.