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STATEMENT MADE BEFORE CUSTOMS OFFICERS - Powers of Customs Officers

Customs - Import - Export - SEZ - By: - Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN - Dated:- 17-9-2015 - Powers of Customs Officers The Customs Officers are entrusted with the powers specifically relating to the collection of customs duties and prevention of smuggling. For this powers they are invested with the power to- Search any person on reasonable suspicion; Summon; X-ray the body of the person for detecting secreted goods; Arrest a person against whom a reasonable suspicion exists that he has been guilty of an o .....

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any subject respecting which he is examined or makes a statement and to produce such documents and other things a may be required. Further the power to arrest, the power to detain, the power to search or obtain a search warrant and the power to collect evidence are vested in the Customs Act. He is empowered to investigate into the infringement of the provisions of the Act primarily for the purpose of adjudicating forfeiture and penalty. Statement before Customs Officers The Statement collected .....

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on of the provisions of the Customs Act. The material can certainly be used to connect the petitioner in the contravention as much as Mr. Dudani s statement clearly inculpates not only himself but also the petitioner. The SC held that therefore the statement can be used as substantive evidence connecting the petitioner with the contravention by exporting foreign currency out of India. In Collector of Customs V. D. Bhoormull - 1974 (4) TMI 33 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA the Supreme Court held that t .....

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e Act are admissible evidence in terms of Section 108 of the Act. Confession under Evidence Act Section 24 of Evidence Act deals with the confession caused by inducement, threat or promise, when irrelevant in criminal proceedings. The following are the ingredients that are required to be established: the statement in question is a confession; such confession has been made by an accused; it has been made to a person in authority; it was obtained by reason of any inducement, threat or promise proc .....

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ct would not apply strictly to the confessional statements obtained in the Customs Act by the Customs Officers in the course of their investigation. The confessional statement given by a person may be retracted after recording the same. The onus on the part of the department is to discharge its primary onus by recording the voluntary statement of concerned person under Section 107/108 of the Act which is in the nature of substantive evidence, with which the onus passed on that person in terms of .....

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e seized. The authorities thereafter issued notice to the appellant to show cause as to why the gold in question be not confiscated and appropriate penalty in accordance with law not imposed on him. The appellant in his reply to the show cause notice informed that he was a mere carrier of contraband gold handed over to him at Raxaul by somebody, which in turn had to be handed over to another person in Benaras. On a consideration of the entire materials, the Commissioner of Customs rejected the r .....

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; the cause shown by him was not considered; the materials on record do not show that the gold which the appellant carrying was smuggled; no person has come forward to claim ownership of the contraband goods, the same may be returned to him treating him to be the owner; he was acquitted in the criminal case on the self same facts; the entire onus in such a situation is on the Department that the seized goods are contraband goods; he has no objection if the order of penalty is maintained, provide .....

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ame should above all satisfy the condition of having been made at the earlier opportunity; the statements of the charged persons under the provisions of Section 107 and 108 are admissible in evidence and the conclusion of culpability can be based on such statement. The High Court found in the statements given by the appellant he admitted that gold had been seized from his body which he was secreting between the sole and his stocks which he was wearing with shoes. He further said that the same be .....

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