Former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya, along with two other cricketers have been accused of smuggling in rotten betelnuts in India, Dainik Bhaskar reported.
Two other cricketers have been said to be involved in the alleged tax-evasion fraudulent deal but their names are yet to be revealed.
The directorate of revenue intelligence seized betelnuts worth millions of rupees in Nagpur and after the reveal of his name, Jayasuriya was also called to Mumbai for questioning by the authorities. After the probe, a letter was sent to the Sri Lanka government for a further inquiry. Two other cricketers are also likely to be called for the probe by December 2.
According to the Dainik Bhaskar report, Dilip Sivare, the deputy director of revenue intelligence, revealed that the betel nuts were brought from Indonesia to Sri Lanka from where it was brought to India. This was done via dummy companies formed in Sri Lanka to draw an illegal advantage out of the SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Area) Act that gives a tax holiday on certain consignments between neighbors Sri Lanka and India for goods produced indigenously by either and sold to the other.
The cricketers used their name and stardom to obtain licenses from Lankan authorities and certificates that the betelnuts were grown in Sri Lanka and form to form the dummy companies.
There is a 108% import duty if betel nut is imported directly from Indonesia. But the heavy import duty can be evaded if imports are done from Sri Lanka under the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement.
The businessmen in Sri Lanka sell the rotten betel nuts to their Indian counterparts in Nagpur at just 25% of its original price. The businessmen from Nagpur make the most profit by importing betel nut by mixing it with betel nut of good quality and supply to different parts of the country.
(with inputs from timesnownews.com)