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KBS Manian and Brothers Pvt. Ltd. Versus Commissioner of Central Excise (Imports) , Chennai

Suspension of CHA License - CHA failed to verify KYC checks and filed Bill of Entry in the case where the cigarettes were concealed behind the declared cargo by the importer - Held that:- The ratio of this jurisdictional High Court of Madras order is squarely applicable to the present case. In spite of definite time limit of 9 months prescribed by Board circular dt. 8.4.2010 for completion of the proceedings, in the present case, we find that even after 2 = years the proceedings are not complete .....

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l is filed by appellant-CHA against the suspension order of CHA licence by the impugned Order-in-Original No.20285/2013 dt. 15.2.2013 passed by Commissioner of Customs (Seaport-Import), Chennai. 2. The brief facts of the case are that appellant M/s.KBS manian & Brothers Pvt. Ltd. was a holder of CHA licence No.R.140 CHA valid upto 10.5.2014. The investigations carried out by DRI relating to seizure of 30,71,360 'Jet Filtered Clove Smooth Slim' cigarette sticks valued at ₹ 1,22, .....

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ut proper authorization from DEPB licence holder; that CHA did not inform the Customs about concealment of cigarettes in the declared cargo. Based on the allegations and investigations, the appellant's CHA licence was suspended by the order dt. 15.10.2012 under Regulation 20 (2) of CHALR, 2004. Subsequently, the suspension of CHA licence was ordered to be continued by the adjudicating authority vide his impugned Order-in-Original No.20285/2013 dt. 15.2.2013. Aggrieved by the order, appellant .....

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ound that CHA did not inform the department of wrong shipment by the overseas suppliers is not sustainable as he based on the advice by appellant-CHA only, the overseas supplier themselves informed about the wrong shipment directly to the Customs. The appellant is one of the oldest CHA operating in Chennai Custom House. In so far as the verification of the IEC is concerned, the appellant had verified the same from the website of the DGFT. He submits that there is inordinate delay in issuance of .....

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the case based on the available documents and accordingly PH was granted on 14.10.2014. He submits that appellant is imposed with penalty under Customs Act by separate proceedings vide OIO No.25355/2014 dt. 12.5.2014 and the same is pending. 5. We have carefully considered the submissions of both sides and examined the records. In the instant case, the appellant's CHA licence was suspended vide order dt. 15.10.2012 under Regulation 20 (2) of CHALR 2004. Subsequently, the suspension was cont .....

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and another officer was nominated on 31.10.2013 is not justified and not acceptable. 7. In this regard, the Hon'ble jurisdictional High Court of Madras in the case of CC Vs CESTAT Chennai (supra) dismissed the Revenue's C.M.A. and upheld this Tribunal order revoking the suspension on identical case. The relevant paragraph of Hon'ble High Court order is reproduced as under :- "26. The Government of India, Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue), Central Board of Excise & .....

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re is no time limit prescribed for completion of such proceedings. Hence, it has been decided by the Board to prescribe an overall time limit of nine months from the date of receipt of offence report, by prescribing time limits at various stages of issue of Show Cause Notice, submission of inquiry report by the Deputy Commissioner of Customs or Assistant Commissioner of Customs recording his findings on the issue of suspension of CHA license, and for passing of an order by the Commissioner of Cu .....

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under Regulation 22 since such an action is taken immediately and only in justified cases depending upon the seriousness or gravity of offence. However, it has been decided by the Board that a 'post-decisional hearing' should be given in all such cases so that errors apparent, if any, can be corrected and an opportunity for personal hearing is given to the aggrieved party. Further, Board has also prescribed certain time limits in cases warranting immediate suspension under Regulation 20( .....

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cerned shall issue an Adjudication Order, where it is possible to do so, within fifteen days from the date of personal hearing so granted by him.' 27. The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in the decision of Ranadey Micronutrients v. Collector of Central Excise [(1996) 10 SCC 387 = 1996 (87) E.L.T. 19 (S.C.)] has held that the Board circular issued by the Central Board of Excise and Customs is binding on the Revenue and they cannot be challenged on the ground of inconsistency with any statu .....

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egulation 22 of CHALR, 2004, but for the reasons best known to him, has not chosen to issue notice under the said regulations to the respondents in these appeals. No doubt, the appellant is entitled to pass initial order of suspension under Regulation 20(2) and to continue the order of suspension under Regulation 20(3) and however, it must be followed by a notice under Regulation 22 and the authority has to take a decision to suspend the licence permanently or revoke the licence under Regulation .....

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) E.L.T. 409 (Tri.-Chennai)] has found that the order of suspension under Regulation 20(2) is sustainable and observed that the action to suspend CHA is only a preliminary and interim measure and the authorities are required to hold an enquiry and decide whether any action is required to be taken against the appellant and this is not a stage for the Tribunal to pre-judge the issue and influence the enquiry and subsequent proceedings and once the final order is passed, the appellants will have am .....

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