In a first, the BMC has arrested 26 businessmen and 80 employees for evasion of octroi on goods worth Rs 137 crore.
The incident took place on Friday at Mumbai Central where the octroi evader was made to pay a penalty of Rs 57 lakh.
The Mumbai civic body earns revenue out of octroi to be paid at various check nakas. All goods being brought into the city have to be charged octroi before entering. The amount of octroi is determined on the goods and their quantity. The octroi on jewels is a mere 0.01%.
On Friday, the BMC'S flying squad got information of 26 importers and their 80 men who were in possession of gold, silver, diamonds. They were detained and taken to the BMC's Byculla office where the jewels were scrutinised. The BMC found diamonds worth Rs 131 crore, gold worth Rs 3 crore and silver worth the rest. Besides, they also found imitation jewelry worth Rs 14 lakhs and other items.
Had the concerned parties paid octroi, they would have only had to pay Rs 5 lakh for it. But since they evaded octroi, they were charged a penalty 10 times the usual amount -- Rs 57 lakh.
The drive was undertaken by the BMC's Assessment and Collection department headed by Dr B G Pawar.