KARACHI: In a significant crackdown on import fraud, the Directorate of Intelligence & Investigation (I&I) Karachi has filed an FIR against businessman Arshad Khan, owner of M/s R.A Impex and M/s Continental Courier. The charges stem from the submission of falsified laboratory reports to clear controlled goods (betel nut), thereby violating current Import Policy regulations.

The investigation was initiated after credible information was provided by Director Engineer Habib Ahmed to Additional Director Inamullah Wazir. It was revealed that M/s R.A. Impex was implicated in the importation of controlled goods, specifically Betel Nuts, under false pretenses. The goods declaration cited, KAPS-IB-43078 dated 23.10.2023, was processed through M/s. Continental Courier System, a clearing agency located at Office No. B-171, Block 2, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi.

Further scrutiny of the WeBOC system documents exposed that M/s R.A. Impex had submitted a HEJ Lab sample analysis report dated 19.12.2023, which falsely stated the Aflatoxin level of the imported Betel Nuts as 23ppb. However, upon verification with HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry, University of Karachi, it was confirmed that the actual Aflatoxin level was 58ppb, indicating a deliberate act of forgery by the importer/clearing agent.

Arshad Khan has been apprehended and served a notice under Section 171 of the Customs Act, 1979. During the preliminary investigation, Khan disclosed his long-standing business operations in import and export since 2010 and his recent dealings with an Indonesian firm for the import of Betel Nuts, among other goods.

The case has highlighted the need for stringent checks and balances within the import sector to prevent such fraudulent activities that pose serious health risks to the public.

An official said almost all the supari manufacturers in the city are involved in smuggling of hazardous betel nut and tax evasion.