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2015 (12) TMI 536 - MADRAS HIGH COURT

2015 (12) TMI 536 - MADRAS HIGH COURT - 2016 (331) E.L.T. 173 (Mad.) - Seizure of currency - confiscation under Section 121 of the Customs Act, 1962 - Smuggling - Held that:- Even before the appellate authority, no evidence was produced to prove that the said sum was relating to the sale proceeds of the smuggled goods, which were sold by the petitioner herein, who was having the knowledge or reason to believe that the goods are smuggled goods. - Before this Court also, such kind of evidence has .....

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y statements of somebody, the confiscation of anything from anybody is against law. - Decided in favour of appellant. - WP.No.20715 of 2015, MP.No.1 of 2015 - Dated:- 24-11-2015 - R. Mahadevan, J. For the Petitioner : Mr. A. K. Jayaraj For the Respondents : Mr. T. Chandrasekaran, Sr. Standing Counsel ORDER This Writ Petition is filed to issue a Writ of Mandamus, directing the Respondents to return a sum of ₹ 7,00,000/- seized on 24.06.2014 from the office premises of the Petitioner at 59A, .....

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Bond and post dated cheques. Out of the said sum, ₹ 3,00,000/- was spent towards rental advance and infrastructural works. On 24.6.2014, when the Manager was present in the Office, four investigating officers entered into the said office at 12.30 hours without any search warrant and conducted search and seized the remaining amount of ₹ 7,00,000/- from the table drawer and the documents and the gift items. On the same day, the Manager lodged a complaint to D1 Police Station, which wa .....

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g abroad. Under the guise of suspicion, the office premises of the Petitioner was searched and there was promise that after scrutiny, the seized amount would be released. The Manager has made a representation dated 14.7.2014 and the Petitioner has also made a representation on 16.7.2014, stating briefly the source of money and requesting to return the seized amount. But, in turn, summons were issued to appear on three occasions on 21.7.2014, 25.7.2014 and 1.8.2014 and for all the summons, the Pe .....

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irecting the Department to issue fresh summons. Thereafter, fresh summon was issued to the Petitioner, to which the Petitioner appeared and filed a reply to the show cause notice dated 19.12.2014. c. Earlier the Petitioner was directed to show the cause to the Joint/ Additional Commissioner of Customs (Preventive), Customs Commissionerate III, Chennai and when the Petitioner requested for personal hearing, he was informed that since two different adjudication officers were nominated for a single .....

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-Original No.58,dated 30.4.2015, releasing the seized sum of ₹ 7,00,000/-, as the same is not liable for confiscation under Section 121 of the Customs Act. However, the said seized amount has not been returned to the Petitioner. Hence, this Writ Petition has been filed for the relief as stated above. 3. Heard both sides. 4. The learned counsel for the Petitioner contended that the act of the Respondents in not returning the seized amount is not only contrary to the provisions of the Custom .....

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, challenging the correctness of the direction given to release ₹ 7 lakhs seized from the office of the Petitioner, as the same is not liable for confiscation under Section 121 of the Customs Act, 1962 and hence, till the disposal of the appeal, the seized amount cannot be released and prayed for dismissal of this Writ Petition. 6. I have considered the aforesaid submissions and perused the materials available on record and also the order impugned in this writ petition and the order of the .....

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before this Court and dispose of the same, on merits and in accordance with law, within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. The petitioner is directed to cooperate for the early disposal of the appeal. 8. Thereafter, the appeal filed by the petitioner herein in Appeal File No.C4/329/0/2015-Air was dismissed by the appellate authority/Commissioner (Appeals-I) along with the appeal filed by the Department as against the Order-in-Original NO.58/2015, dated 30.4 .....

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n, which reads as under:- As regards, the appeal filed by the appellant whose name has been arraigned as abettor, I find that in his statements given on various dates Shri Jayabal Shivakumar, the passenger, interalia states that the two checked-in-baggages containing the Indian currencies were handed over by Jalaludeen at his travels office viz., M/s.JKS Air Travels, tickets were booked by Jalaludeen, Shri Gani @ Naina Mohamed, staff of the travels accompanied Shri Jayabal Shivakumar on the dire .....

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nt. On the contrary, the Department (DRI) has taken much effort to prove the involvement of Shri. Jalaludeen in the impugned seizure of Indian currency from Shri Jayabal Shivakumar. Hence, I find no infirmity in the orders of the LAA in imposing the penalty of ₹ 3,00,000/- on the appellant under Section 114 of the Customs Act, 1962 and I uphold the same. In view of the above discussions, I (i) dismiss the appeal filed by the Department in File No.C4-I/385/)/2015-Air as infructuous; and (ii .....

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8377; 7,00,000/- seized from the Office of M/s.JKS Air Travels as the same are not liable for confiscation under Section 121 of the Customs Act, 1962. 13. At this juncture, it is relevant to refer to the provisions of Section 121 of the Customs Act, as the Joint Commissioner of Customs, who had passed the Order-in-Original, had ordered to release a sum of ₹ 7,00,000/-, which had been seized from the office of M/s.JKS Air Travels on the ground that it was not liable for confiscation under S .....

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erson having knowledge or reason to believe that the goods are smuggled goods. 16. In the case on hand, there is absolutely no evidence to show that the said sum was relating to the sale proceeds of smuggled goods, which were sold by the petitioner, who was having knowledge or reason to believe that the goods are smuggled goods. 17. Since such kind of evidence was not produced before the third respondent, he had ordered to release ₹ 7,00,000/- seized from the Office of M/s.JKS Air Travels .....

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