DRI Ahmedabad recovering custom duty from coal importers
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Ahmedabad, officials have recovered more than Rs 150 crore of custom duty from coal importers and coal-based companies which owed the government Rs 700 crore of duty on account of reporting bituminous coal as steam coal. While the latter is exempt from duty, bituminous coal attracted 11 per cent duty as per the earlier budget provisions.
The recovery is being made following the detection of short levy on customs duty on coal import involving almost 90% of coal importers and industries based on coal as fuel such as power, cement and aluminium manufacturing among others. According to senior DRI officials, the the biggest chunk of money has been recovered from Adani Power which has to pay around Rs 400 crore. Sources said the company has been paying in small instalments. On the other hand, Tata Powers has recently paid a little over Rs 31 crore of duty liability.
In February this year, when presenting budget 2013-14, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram equalised the duties on both kinds of coal and levied 2% customs duty and 2% countervailing duty, which is refundable. The minister remained silent on the issue raised by DRI which paved the way for the agency to go ahead with its recovery based on earlier levies.
These coal consignments were imported between March 2012 and January 2013. In Gujarat, coal worth Rs 7,000 crore was imported on which Rs 700 crore duty is liable that wasn't paid by the importers. Most of the coal were imported from Australia, Africa and Indonesia.
According to officials, the companies have been declaring the import under steam coal which was exempted in March 2012, following a notification from the Finance Ministry.