There is hope yet for this country as long as we have young men and women like Durga Shakti and Kiran Karlapu. Customs official probing jewelry importers shunted MUMBAI: A customs official has been transferred in less than 45 days into his posting. Assistant commissioner of customs Kiran Karlapu (27) had started an inquiry against 253 jewelry importers for evading duty. His transfer order was issued on Monday. Karlapu, a 2010 Indian Revenue Service officer, had recovered Rs 6.5 crore in duty in the past three weeks and was in the process of issuing notices to some of the jewelry importers. The total duty evaded in the past five years by the importers is estimated to be Rs 108 crore. Chief commissioner of customs B R Vasudev said there was nothing unusual about the transfer, though it came within two months of a posting. "This happens sometimes." Karlapu, attached to the precious cargo clearance centre (PCCC), a sensitive posting, had found forged documents showing imports of gold jewelry from Thailand. The duty on gold import from that country is 1% because of a free trade agreement with India compared to 10% for import from other countries. "The duty evasion exposed a nexus between customs officials, importers and customs house agents," an official said. PCCC was formed for expeditious clearance of gem and jewellery meant for import and export. The total volume in terms of money handled this year was around Rs 1.25 lakh crore. Karlapu was also planning a first-time audit of private bonded warehouses where imported jewelry and precious stones meant for export are stored. "The processes here are manual and open to manipulation. There is a question mark about the probe now," another official said. Vipul Shah, chairman of the Gem and Jewelry Export Promotion Council, said some members had complained about harassment by customs officials. "But no one complained against Karlapu. Some members have misused the scheme. But genuine members should not suffer. We discussed the issue with officials in Delhi." There was a tiff between Vasudev and the then customs commissioner P M Saleem over Karlapu's posting. Karlapu took charge at PCCC in June last week on Saleem's orders; Vasudev had already posted another officer. Both continued working in the same unit, but Karlapu's job description was significant. When asked about the matter, Vasudev said, "All are good officers."