Former Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya has been accused of smuggling rotten betel nut into India. His name has come to light after the Director of Revenue Intelligence seized betel nut worth crores of rupees in Nagpur.
According to Dainik Bhaskar, the Revenue Intelligence team has questioned Jayasuriya in Mumbai. Two other cricketers will also be called for questioning by December 2. A letter has been sent to the Sri Lankan government for further enquiry.
Dilip Sivare, the deputy director of Revenue Intelligence, said that the betel nut was smuggled into India from Sri Lanka. The betel nut was brought to Sri Lanka from Indonesia, according to Sivare. He further added that dummy companies had been formed in Sri Lanka to carry out the illegal activity.
Importing betel nuts directly from Indonesia would be subject to a 108% import duty. This was evaded by importing the same from Sri Lanka which falls under the SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA).
A raid carried out in Nagpur brought to light that fake documents were prepared to aid in the activity and the production was done in Sri Lanka to evade the heavy import duty.
It was learnt that Sri Lankan cricketers used their influence to obtain fake licences from the Sri Lankan government and form dummy companies.
Indonesia's rotten betel nut is a massive source of income for businessmen in India as they have to pay only 25% of the original value – buy betel nut worth Rs 100 crore at Rs 25 crore. This rotten betel nut is then mixed with good quality betel in different parts of the country.
The Dainik Bhaskar report also claimed that a non-bailable arrest warrant has been issued against Prakash Goyal, a businessman in Nagpur, and his factory has been sealed.
Nagpur has supposedly become the centre of rotten and raw betel nut business in India. Assam and Madhya Pradesh have been reported as the other centres for such activities.
Jayasuriya was earlier charged by the ICC for breaching its anti-corruption code under two separate counts.