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The Central Crime Branch nabs gang running fictitious shipping firms, swindling crores

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The gang had registered 40 companies and engaged very few staff

CHENNAI : The Central Crime Branch (CCB) of the Greater Chennai Police nabbed a gang running fictitious shipping firms and swindling several crores of rupees. 

The police identified the arrested as Ponraj, David alias Kevinraj, Gokulnath alias Daniel of Thoothukudi and Patrickmari Vijaymurugappa of Puducherry and launched a search to nab 12 more persons. The police said the fraudsters posed as exporter / shipping agent of GPR Resources Pvt. Ltd. and engaged freight forwarding companies such as ISSGF, VPC Freight Forwarders and Rushabh Sealink to hire barge or containers from shell companies referred by them for export of construction  material from Thoothukudi to Maldives or Jeddah. The fraudsters were operating in Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Thoothukudi. 

Commissioner of Police Shankar Jiwal said in reality, no export took place. Also the exporter, shipper and container supplier companies were fake. All cargo-related documents such as shipping bills, invoice, and bills of lading were fake and no cargo moved as projected. No export had taken place. The fraudsters registered around 40 companies with Registrar of Companies and showed these companies as shippers and liners to attract business from freight-forwarding logistics companies. They engaged only a handful of staff to do marketing, auditing, accounts, and for filing GST from a small working space with computers, laptops, tablets and mobiles. 

They had opened 61 bank accounts in the name of shell companies, obtained SIM cards, 81 digital signature certificates, obtained payments and defaulted on payments, made imports and exports only on paper and cheated genuine companies. They showed huge turnover and paid GST without actual export in order to avail loans from banks.  Only three companies had lodged complaints against the fraudsters for cheating them of ₹15.52 crore. Two luxury cars, ₹58 lakh, 188 sovereigns of gold jewellery and other valuables were seized. 

Mr. Jiwal said the CCB teams, since May last year, had detained 79 accused under the Goondas Act. The CCB took up investigation into cases relating to grabbing of land worth ₹190 crore and the lands worth ₹157 crore reverted to the original owners.

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