A Cobrapost investigation discovers that some companies in India are jeopardizing national security by allowing scrap metal containers to be imported on fake Pre-Shipment Inspection Certificates (PSIC) without the mandatory pre-shipment inspection at ports from where they are being loaded, charging a measly Rs 1,300 to Rs 4,000 for passing each container, which may well be used to smuggle huge amounts of weapons, drugs and fake currency.

Blatantly flouting strict guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, some companies in India, authorized by the Government, are bending rules and jeopardizing national security on the import of scrap metal. As per norms laid down by the ministry, foreign or Indian shipping companies transporting scrap must have a Pre shipment inspection certificate from approved agencies before they load the scrap at any port. The certificate must state that the scrap consignment does not contain any ammunition, cartridges, arms, mines, shells or any radioactive material. The government has recognized some companies for pre-shipment inspection both in India and abroad. All the scrap arriving at any Indian port has to be inspected by custom authorities. In case of a scrap consignment has originated from a country affected by rebellion or war, the exporter has to furnish documents to the customs at the time of clearance of the goods.

Non-inspection of these containers pose a dangerous hazard to national security as they can be used to smuggle drugs, weapons and counterfeit currency in large numbers. Weapons are difficult to smuggle in via the land route. These arms and ammunition are much sought after by militants in Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Odisha and in the north-east. The containers can also be used to smuggle in high-end German machinery to avoid high taxes on their import.

During the investigation, Cobrapost correspondent Md. Hizbullah posed as an importer and met the head of Delhi-based Worldwide Inspection Services Private Limited (WISPL) Amit Kumar and his subordinate Vinod Kumar; Beena Negi of Worldwide Logistic Survey and Inspection Group and manager U. K. Banerjee and deputy managing director T. Bhattacharjee of Suprintendence Co of India Pvt. Ltd. in Kolkata.

The Cobrapost correspondent discovered that the three companies are issuing Pre Shipment Inspection Certificates (PSIC) of scrap to importers without any inspection being carried out in any part of the world. These companies are issuing fake inspection certificates to importers for Rs 1,300 to Rs 4,000 for each scrap container without asking for relevant documents required to prove that the consignments are only prescribed goods in accordance with the law of the land.

So for say about 50 scrap containers at an average rate of Rs 3,000 per container, the amount works out to Rs 1.50 lakh. Each scrap container sells for about Rs 20-25 lakh. For 50 containers, this works out to a staggering Rs 10 crore.

Also, a PSIC for scrap to be imported to India from a port in any country can be issued from India. The Cobrapost correspondent found out that a forged PSIC for scrap container bound for India from the US can be issued there for just $60, payable in the US.


Delhi-based Worldwide Inspection Services Private Limited (WISPL) is one of the accredited companies under the government of India which is authorized to issue PSICs to importers of scrap metals coming into India through the sea route only after a thorough inspection of the goods at the loading port itself. Inspection of these scrap metals is essential to keep a check on the radiation level of the metals as well as to keep a check on any dangerous metal, arms and ammunition meant for terror activities coming into the country. WISPL has branches in 14 countries.

Asia Globe

Posing as a scrap importer, Cobrapost correspondent Md. Hizbullah met Amit Kumar and Vinod Kumar and told them that a container with aluminum scrap was to arrive for him from the US for which he would need a PSIC from them.
Without asking for any documents, Vinod readily agreed to issue the certificate for Rs 1,500.
Vinod says: “Hum 1,500 rupayee per container lete hai”(we charge Rs 1,500 per container). The correspondent tells Vinod that this is just the initial stage of his business and 50 to 60 containers would be arriving in India each month, on which Vinod asks: “Kaun si country se aayega? (From which country will it come?)” The correspondent tells Vinod that the consignments will come from the European Union, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia and the containers will be reaching Dadri in Ghaziabad by train.
Vinod says: “Dadri aayega? Koi dikkat nahi. Kar denge (Will it come to Dadri? No problem. We will do it).” The correspondent then tells Vinod that a container with shaded aluminum was en route via sea from the US and was expected to arrive in India within a few days and more were expected in the coming months. Our correspondent wants to fix the rate for each PSIC for this consignment.
Vinod says: “Hum to 1,500 rupayee lete hai per container phorous, non-phorous. Shaded aluminium abhi to 1,500 karte hai. Kaam aap dijiye phir rate ki koi dikkat nahi. Kar leenge jaisa. (We take Rs 1,500 per container, be it ferrous or non- ferrous. We charge Rs 1,500 for shaded aluminum. You give us the work regularly and then there is no problem related to the rates. We will do the needful).”
The only documents Vinod needs are copies of the Bill of Lading (BL) and a loading photgraph of the container. He assures that there won’t be any problem in the clearance of the scrap material from their side, if the money is paid. Vinod also assures of all help to issue PSICs for containers coming in from European countries, Kenya and Uganda.
Then, Vinod makes a startling revelation. He admits that even though there is a ban on the import of scrap from Israel, his company has issued PSICs to importers in the past.
He candidly admits: “Kya dikkat ho jaati hai? Item theek ho, inspection agency involve ho to dikkat kis cheez ka hai? Aaj ki date mein agar maal sahi hai… inspection agency hai… to kya dikkat hai? Israel se scrap ban hai lekin phir bhi aata hai na? (What is the problem? If the material is okay and an inspection agency is getting involved, then what is the problem? If the material is good and there is an inspection agency, then there is no problem. Scrap from Israel is banned but it still comes.)”
So are they still issuing the pre-shipment certificates to scrap importers from Israel? Vinod says: “Nahi. Pehle banate thay ab nahi banate hai kyunki ab jab se yeh country wise wala ho gaya hai na… jab se nahi banta. (No. We used to make it earlier but now we don’t because now certificates are given country-wise).”
Vinod assures the correspondent of all help, even for overseas dealings, for a fee in US dollars. He says: “USA mein aapko chahiye toh USA mein aapko mil jayega. USA mein bhi hamara office hai. Waha to dollar ke hisaab se (charge) karte hai (If you want it in USA you will get it there.
We have our office in the USA. There we charge in dollars).” He says that the rates depend upon the volume of containers being imported on a monthly basis. “Har aadmi ka jo hai har rate hai dekhiye… ek do container aate hai hum aisi baat nahi hai… hum teen hazaar le lete hai… chaar hazaar le leete hai…woh to bande ko dekh ke samajh jaate hai kau kis type ka banda hai… baton se (There are different rates for different people. If there are one or two containers, then we charge Rs 3,000-4,000. We take a look at the person and understand what type of business he is into) ”.
Vinod reveals more cases where rules were bent and PSICs were issued without inspection.
According to him, this happens in most of the cases. He says: “Abhi kisi ka 16 container tha ek hi BL pe. 50 dollar ke hisaab se humne charge kiya… usne payment kiya…maal aaya tha Tanzania… shipment clear hua Chennai mein… har jagah office hai… thik hai… waha pe matlab maan ke chalo saare bande hai… hum waha phone kar deete hai waha ka radiation level hota hai…woh hame le kar de deete hai…(Recently there were 16 containers on a single BL. We charged him like 50 dollars. He made the payment. The goods came from Tanzania. Shipment was cleared at Chennai. Offices are everywhere. Ok. We have our people there. We call them on phone and they provide us the radiation level)” This is how the radiation levels are checked. Verbally.
When asked how things are done so quickly and how much time will it take to get the PSICs, Vinod replies: “Yeh nahi hai ki hum USA mein hamara banda nahi batha hua …yeh jo aapka port hai yaha ka hamare paas sara detail hota hai…item kya cheez ka hamare paas yeh nahi hai yaha aankh bandh kar ke hum log kaam kar rahe hai… sirf certificate chaap rahe hai… aisa nahi hai… abhi main isko daalonga…waha se approve ho ke aayega doh minute ke andar… yaha se kuch nahi… yaha se sirf fill up karke bhejenge abhi waha se 10 minute baad aa jayega ki haan yeh sahi item hai…jagah sahi hai…sab kuch check hoga. (It is not that we don’t have our man in the USA. We have all the details of all ports. We do not work blindly … not that we are just issuing certificates … First I will send this … it will be approved from there within two minutes … from here we will just fill up the form send it and within 10 minutes it will be approved that the item is alright, the place is alright … everything will be checked.”
Vinod takes the correspondent to meet his company’s national head Amit Kumar, who asks a few questions about the correspondent’s “business” and redirects him to Vinod.
The correspondent gives Vinod Rs 1,500 and a fake bill of the lading of the container. Without checking the credentials of the “business house” nor looking at the scrap material, Vinod hands over the PSIC immediately.
When Cobrapost tried to contact Vinod for his reaction before the airing of the story, we found that the office was closed.
It may be mentioned here that in 2012, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had seized 22 containers of metal scrap at Mundra and Kanla ports in Gujarat. The containers were imported from some African countries using fake PSICs in a serious violation of import norms. After the seizure, the agency had raided the offices of the importers in Jamnagar, Delhi and Mumbai.
To find out whether such fake inspection certificates are awarded by others as well, the correspondent decides to investigate other agencies. He gets the phone number of Beena Negi of Worldwide Logistic, Survey and Inspection Group based in Delhi, through a contact. The company is one of the 10 agencies which was previously assigned the job of inspection of shipments to check the radiation levels of scrap by the government of India before it leaves international ports for India. But in 2011, the government of India withdrew its accreditation when cases of fake certificates issued by this agency came into light. Hence, this agency cannot issue PSICs anymore.
The correspondent talks to Beena over the telephone and tells her that a container with aluminum scrap has been dispatched from a US port and is expected soon in India. Beena assures the correspondent of issuing a PSIC for the container without asking for any valid documents. The correspondent strikes a deal with Beena over the phone itself. She asks only for a photograph of the loaded container and a Bill of Lading, nothing else. She says that the PSIC will be sent via courier. She says: “Address mail kar dijiye. Hum log courier nikaal leete hai. (Mail us your address. We will send (the certificate) by courier).” Regarding the payment, Beena says: “Account number de deti hu main aapjo kal subah karwa dijiyega aap bank mein hamare. (I’ll give you the account number … deposit the money in it tomorrow morning).”
After the fake Bill of Lading is mailed to Beena the next day, the correspondent calls her. She confirms receiving the mail. When the correspondent asks about the PSIC, she says that the certificate will be given as soon as she gets the photograph of the container. “Ek baar photograph to check karna parega na aapka. Original certificate nahi milega jab tak photograph nahi hoga. (I’ll have to check the photograph once. Until then you won’t get the original certificate)”.
When Beena says that she will send the PSIC through courier to the correspondent’s “office”, he tells her that since this is his first business venture in scrap imports, he does not have an office yet. On hearing this, Beena is willing to have it sent to his residence.
How much will she charge for the certificate? “Rs 2,000,” she says. Will there be a discount? Not now, she says. “Two thousand,” says Beena. “Ek container hai abhi kuch zyada ki to baat hi mat kariye kyunki abhi to ek container hai na. Jab aapke 50-60 container ho jayenge to main kar loongi. Abhi to filhaal ek container hai na. aap isko hone dijiye… koi dikkat nahi. Baad mein mai dekh loongi apke liye sccha khasa de deenge. Thik hai? (Right now there is only one container so don’t ask for any concession right now. When there will be 50-60 containers, then I’ll do it.
As of now you have only container… No problem. I shall see later on)”. So if there are many containers, she offers a discount as well. She signs off with an assurance of meeting the fake “importer” later.
As promised, Beena sends the PSIC by courier. However, instead of her company Worldwide Logistics Survey and Inspection Group — which has been banned by government of India — the certificate is issued by Asia Globe Trade, a government accredited agency. The certificate is issued just on a telephone call and an assurance of submission of documents later on.
After getting the certificate, the correspondent decides to meet Beena to understand her modus operandi in getting forged PSICs. He calls her and says that another consignment of 10 scrap containers is expected soon and he needs PSICs for them. Interestingly, he has not yet deposited Rs 2,000 in her bank account.
The correspondent visits the office of Worldwide Logistics in Saket in New Delhi, where he meets Dilip, another senior official of the company. The correspondent tells him that he has just entered the aluminum scrap import business and regular consignments will be coming in from countries like the US, the European Union and Vietnam. He tells Dilip that a container from Vietnam has already been dispatched a couple of days ago and for this he needs a PSIC. Dilip says that he does not have the license to issue a PSIC for Vietnam, but if the correspondent needs a certificate in the next couple of days, he can arrange it as he will be getting the license by then.
When the correspondent finally meets Beena and asks how she managed to get the certificate from Asia Globe Trade Limited instead of from her own company, she says: “Nahi nahi. Wo yeh company bhi hamari hai. Asia Globe bhi hamari hai… dono ka bill hamara… Woh Globe jo hai na unke behalf pe hum India operate karte hai (No no, that company is also ours … Asia Globe is also ours … we operate on their behalf in India)”.
She tells our correspondent – who is posing as a scrap importer – that the material will be checked just once when it reaches the yard. After that, no inspection will be carried out in future and he will get the certificate without any inspection for future consignments.
The correspondent tells Beena that another consignment of around 10 containers is to arrive soon and he needs a better deal. Beena fixes the deal at Rs 1,300 per container this time. Beena says: “Jo aapke 10 container aa jayega woh hum rakhenge 1,300 per container (When you get 10 containers we will charge Rs 1,300 per container).”
Probing further, he tells Beena that the PSIC certificate given by Beena was back dated. Will it be a problem later? Beena says: “Back date mein to hoga na BL? BL date se ek hafte pehle ka hum logo ka inspection hota hai… BL issue hoti hai baad mein … inspection pehle hoga… BL ke document to baad mein bante hai na… to isme koi dikkat nahi hai (You’ll take a back dated BL? We do the inspection a week before the BL … the BL is issued later … there is no problem.”
After discussing all aspects, the correspondent hands over Rs. 2,000 for the certificate issued on ‘fake’ documents for a non-existent container.
When Beena was contacted again for her reaction before airing of the story, Beena said that she does not remember meeting the reporter in particular as she meets so many people for certificates. Beena says: “ Mere paas to bahut log aate hai… aap bataiye (Many people come to us. You tell me)”. The reporter again tells her that there are more containers on their way from the US, for which he would need PSICs. Beena again says: “Haan ho jayega… koi problem nahi hai…haan ho jayega (It will be done there is no problem. It will be done)”. So Beena was ready to do it again.
The Correspondent then reveals his identity. Immediately taking an U-turn Beena says: “ Nahi nahi aap evidence…evidence nahi hai… hum aapko de deenge…yeh nahi kaha hai ki inspection nahi karenge… (No No evidence… you don’t have evidence… I will give you but I never said that there would be no inspection)”. The reporter tells her that PSIC is already with him and issued on fake BL. Beena says: “ Aap mere naam ko kyun involve kar rahe hai… mere ko kuch kehna nahi hai…yeh sirf hamara kaam nahi hai…inspection company ka kaam hai… (Why are you dragging my name into this. This is not my job. This is the job of the inspection company )”. She disconnected the phone.
The third company our correspondent visits is Superintendence Co of India Pvt. Ltd. in Kolkata. Here, he meets deputy managing director T. Bhattacharjee and manager U.K. Banerjee. Though no money is paid here, both the officials ensure all possible help to give the PSIC on a payment of Rs 4,000.
The correspondent, posing as an importer of aluminum scrap, told Bhattacharjee that his first consignment of a single container has been loaded in Netherlands and is expected soon at an Indian port, for which a PSIC certificate is required. Bhattacharjee sends the correspondent to Banerjee who looks after consignments arriving at Indian ports from Netherlands.
Banerjee asks for the Bill of Lading and a photograph of the consignment to ensure that a back dated certificate is issued. Banerjee says: “Lekar aaya woh to hamare paas document toh rahega nahi. Document mein humko dikhana hai. Loading photo humko bhejiye au aise field report ki copy hum aapko de deete haiusi tarah se bana ke…aapka aadmi hai… uska jo naam deke.”
The correspondent tells him that the consignment was dispatched a few days earlier, for which he needs the certificate. Banerjee says: “Toh pehli date mein aap report banana. 4-5 din pehle ka dare ka hum report mein kar deete hai. Kyunki aap dikhayenge yaha date of inspection 17 dikhayenge…17 ka pehle dikhayenge report…
Banerjee says that he will need only an inspection report prepared by anyone, who he would show in his records as the inspection officer. But he wants to ensure that the inspection report is dated before the bill of lading was prepared. What Banerjee means is that anyone can be shown as being the inspection officer.
Banerjee hands over the prescribed format in which the inspection certificate should be filled and says: “Yeh aapko type karke yeh sab change ho jayega … baki yeh column sab thik rahega”.
When the correspondent asks Banerjee what he will charge for the PSIC, he discusses it with his senior Bhattacharjee, returns and says: “4,000 per container. Pehle aap kaam to chalu kijiye… uske baad dekhenge jo bhi hai (First you start the work, then we’ll see)”.
There is neither any container nor any photograph of it, nor anyone in Netherlands who can fill out the requisite inspection form and mail it to Banerjee. After striking the deal for Rs 4,000 for a fake PSIC per container of aluminum scrap, our correspondent leaves and does not visit the company again.
When Banerjee was contacted before airing of the story for his comment, Banerjee informs the reporter that they have stopped issuing PSIC. The reporter when revealed his identity Banerjee says: Nahi hum aisa certificate deta nahi kabhi… hum kabhi nahi bola yeh sab baat (We never give certificates like this. I never said anything like that).”