Ports, containers searched in five cities over fake currency alert

The Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) carried out extensive searches at container depots in Chennai, Tughlakabad, Kanpur, Kolkata and Mumbai following a tip-off about large consignments of fake Indian currency notes being brought in through ports.

Import cargo was frozen at three sea ports in Tamil Nadu and Chennai airport. The operation began early morning and was on till the time of going to the press.

A senior customs official in Chennai said they had identified a container at Chennai port which, according to an intelligence input, may have Rs 400 crore in fake currency . "We will open it tomorrow," said the official.

Another official in Mumbai said that some AK-47 rifles might have reached an inland container terminal in Tughlakabad, Delhi. However, a DRI official refused to confirm any seizure.

Reinforcements sought for CISF cover at Chennai port

There was an intelligence alert that fake currency was being brought into the country through the container route,” said an official in Delhi. Sources said the cargo would be released once the search is over.

Sources in Mumbai said DRI and CBI swung into action following information gathered by the national security adviser’s office that Rs 150 crore in fake currency has been smuggled into the country. Information indicated that the fake currency originated from Pakistan and may have landed at Chennai, Mumbai or ICD Tughlakabad. An official said imports at these three locations have been stopped, which means no container will leave the port without examination. This is bound to create chaos as currently only random inspection of containers happens at the ports.

Customs received a specific intelligence report on Friday evening of fake Indian currency notes in denominations of 2,000 and 500 having reached Chennai in a container. Customs stopped clearing import cargo at Chennai, Ennore and Kattupalli ports. “It is part of a nationwide alert, a few other cities have also been alerted,” said another officer. “Nothing can move out of the port without DRI’s clearance. Export cargo s allowed to be passed.”

Customs has sent a circular to all its managers at container freight stations in Chennai customs zone asking them to report for duty on Sunday. They have also sought reinforcements for CISF cover at Chennai port.

Soon after the alert on Fri- day evening, DRI and customs launched a search. All import boxes that arrived at the three TN ports after March1are being checked thoroughly and cleared after due process by customs, an internal communication said.

Not a single import container left the Kolkata Port on Saturday because of the DRI customs operation. The port officials are not being kept in the loop, sources said.

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GST to boost warehousing, logistics: JLL

he roll-out of the goods and services tax and real estate investment trusts is expected to fuel the growth of warehousing stock across the country in the next few years.

“The warehousing, manufacturing and logistics industries will benefit the most from the implementation of GST in India and the new tax regime will also usher in an era of upgradation in the warehousing infrastructure,” said JLL India CEO Ramesh Nair.

According to the real estate services firm, the total

Seven months on, India-US logistics pact suffering from bottlenecks

The much-ballyhooed logistics pact between India and the US, which will allow reciprocal access to each other's military bases for refuelling, repair and maintenance of warships and aircraft, is yet to enter into force despite being inked seven months ago.

Slow decision-making, bureaucratic bottlenecks and complex accounting procedures, much more from the Indian side than the US one, have held up the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) from becoming operational till now

Sources, however, said the Indian defence ministry was "now close to finalising the intricate accounting procedures" under which the two militaries will provide each other with logistical support on "equal-value exchange and reimbursable basis".

It was much easier for the US, which has similar pacts with its allies and others as well as unified theatre commands to handle different parts of the globe, to work out the operational details and submit its "points of contact" list to India

But India, with separate budgets and accounting procedures for the Army , Navy and IAF in the absence of unified commands, has found the going tough since the LEMOA was inked on August 29 last year. "The complex arrangement on how India will pay had to be worked out. But it should now be finalised and approved in a month or so," said a source. The LEMOA represents yet another major milestone in the ever-tightening bilateral strategic clinch, which has seen the US bag arms deals worth $15 billion .. from India as well as the two militaries conduct a flurry of combat exercises over the last decade. But the Modi government, wary of being accused of compromising India's traditional strategic autonomy, has taken pains to repeatedly stress that LEMOA will not entail any ba sing rights or permanent stationing of US troops on Indian soil.

India is also in no tearing hurry to ink the other two "foundational agreements", in addition to LEMOA, which are being pushed by the US for over 15 years now. These are the Communications Compatibility and Security Arrangement (COMCASA), earlier called the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA), and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA).

"India is keen on further building interoperability between the two forces but it has to follow capacity-building.COMCASA and BECA will take time," said an official. Some military officers, on their part, maintain that one effective way of balancing the longterm threat from China, which has increasingly become assertive in the entire Asia-Pacific, is to militarily work closely with the US.

But critics contend the "foundational pacts" will only lead to a formal military alliance with the US in the years ahead, while adversely impacting the close strategic partnership with Russia as well as needlessly antagonising China. "A pact like COMCASA also has the potential to compromise our operational security by allowing the US military to snoop on our warships and aircraft," said another officer.

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