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Panchbhaya Ismail Suleman Versus Commissioner of Customs, Airport, Mumbai

2016 (10) TMI 199 - CESTAT MUMBAI

Absolute confiscation - discretion exercised by adjudicating authority in denying option for redemption of confiscated goods - concealment of Indian Currency in the hand baggage of departing passenger - confiscation of currency under section 113 of the Customs Act, 1962 - imposition of penalty under section 114(1) of the Customs Act, 1962 - is the adjudicating authority justified in denying option for redemption of confiscated goods and ordering absolute confiscation? - Held that: - no legally a .....

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that the impugned currency was not free from taint and was generated and procured through illegal channels. The outflow of currencies in illegal and clandestine manner does give a telling blow to the economy of the country. Additionally, the currencies in cash form can be and is invariably used in several economically, politically, international crimes as it is very difficult to trace the source in cash transactions. Hence, it is necessary to deal sternly with such offences whenever come to noti .....

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ORDER The limited issue in this appeal filed by Shri Panchbhaya Ismail Suleman is the exercise of discretion by the adjudicating authority in denying the option for redemption of confiscated goods. 2. The appellant, a passenger departing from the country, was found to be carrying Indian currency amounting to 34,50,000/- concealed in packs in hand-baggage. The currency was confiscated under section 113 of the Customs Act, 1962 and penalty imposed on the passenger under section 114(1) of the Cust .....

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dicating authority in relation to prohibited goods which, admittedly, the export of Indian currency is, the non-exercise of such discretion should necessarily be justified in the adjudication order. It is canvassed by the appellant that the ownership, or lack of it, was not a proper or sufficient ground to deny the option. In support of this contention, reliance was placed on the decision of the Government of India in Suthar Narendra Somnath and Shakila Abdul Rashid Shaikh [Order No. 35-36/08 da .....

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ized Representative has cited the decision in Harish Muljimal Gandhi v. Commissioner of Customs, ACC, Mumbai [2013 (294) ELT 470 (Tri.-Mumbai)], Salim M Mamdani v. Commissioner of Customs (Airport), Mumbai [2007 (217) ELT 94 (Tri.-Mumbai)], Siddhick Vayalilakath @ Siddique v. Commissioner of Central Excise & Customs, Thiruvananthapuram [2007 (213) ELT 631 (Tri.-Chennai)] to support of the recourse to absolute confiscation by the original authority. 5. On a careful perusal of the impugned ord .....

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ners of this currency. The passenger has initially co-operated with the investigation but later on took a reverse summersault. The real owner has remained behind the scene and used the passenger as a stooge in the act of smuggling. The currency was thus attempted to be sent out of India through a carrier in a clandestine manner. It is, therefore, obvious that the impugned currency was not free from taint and was generated and procured through illegal channels. The outflow of currencies in illega .....

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u of confiscation. For reaching such a conclusion, I am also guided by the decision of the Hon ble Supreme Court in the case of Sheikh Mohd. Umar [1983(13) ELT 1439 (SC) and decisions of the Hon ble Tribunal in the case of (i) Salim M Mamdani vs. Commissioner of Customs, Airport (Mumbai) [2007 (217) ELT 94 (Tri.-Mumbai)], (ii) Molok Boloky vs. Commissioner of Customs, Mumbai [2005 (192) 294 (Tri.-Delhi)] and of (iii) Siddhick Vayalilakath @ Siddique vs. CCE & C, Thiruvananthapuram [2007 (213 .....

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