The scam involves buying his own cars with multiple loans, evading payment of taxes, duties and GST, and selling multiple cars with same engine and chassis numbers
Popular Indian automotive designer and founder of DC Design, Dilip Chhabria, has been arrested by Mumbai Police for allegedly masterminding an elaborate tax evasion scheme through hypothecation in addition to selling multiple cars with same engine and chassis numbers.
Dilip Chhabria arrested – The crime
Dilip Chhabria led DC Design garnered attention on a global scale with its Avanti, India’s first supercar. The Renault-powered low-riding DC Avanti fell short of sales expectations and had a very short production run. As many as 127 units were sold across the world before the vehicle was withdrawn from the market as India enforced stricter automotive safety rules.
According to the police, Dilip Chhabria allegedly sold multiple Avanti sportscars to customers with same engine and chassis number which is a crime. DC Design also bought several of its own cars posing as customers and availed loans for this scheme from Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFC) and sold them to third party customers.
This fraudulent approach helped the company evade taxes and GST. It is being suspected that Chhabria sold over 90 units of the Avanti through this hypothecation scheme. While the damage to the government exchequer due to the tax evasion scheme is still being calculated, the initial estimate is in the ballpark of INR 40 cr.
How it came to light?
Mumbai Police zeroed in on a DC Avanti owner who produced original documents for the car, but upon further investigation, it was found that there is another Avanti with the same engine and chassis numbers registered in Haryana. Moreover, the police also found that multiple loans were taken on the same car, averaging INR 42 lakhs per car. It is also being reported that multiple VIPs and even a top bollywood actor had tipped the police regarding the scam.
DC Avanti – A brief overview
The DC Avanti was conceived as a desi sportscar with unmissable visual impact, affordable price tag and sportscar worthy performance. While the Avanti ticked the first box, the second two were left unaddressed. The initial price estimation was exceed by a huge margin and the car’s driving dynamics left a lot to be desired. Moreover, the DC Avanti was not equipped with basic safety features like airbags. A safety update was promised in 2016 but it never materialized.
The car’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine sourced from Renault produces 250 hp and 340 Nm of torque. The mid-mounted motor is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission which drives the rear wheels.
Earlier this year, DC Design had made a comeback as DC2 and even shared new concepts, including Ambassador Electric. Chhabria’s arrest puts the future of renowned car modification division of DC Design in uncertainty. Is it gonna be an end of DC Design? Will it be given a new lease of life under new ownership? We will have to wait and see.