Decided on July 21,1983

STATE Respondents


M.B.SHAH - (1.) The detenus wife has filed this writ of habeas corpus for quashing and setting aside the detention order dated 18/03/1982 passed against Shri Ratilal Devabhai Navik residing at 14-15 Sugam Society Rander Road Surat or at village Dandi taluka Olpad district Surat under sub-sec. (1) of sec. 3 of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act 1974 (hereinafter referred to as (COFEPOSA).
(2.) The grounds of detention were also supplied on the same day i.e. on 18/03/1983 The detention order was issued for preventing the detenu from smuggling goods and transporting smuggled goods. After receipt of the report from the Advisory Board under clause (1) of sec. 8 of COFEPOSA the detention order was confirmed only for preventing him from transporting smuggled goods. The said confirmation order was passed by the State Government on 23/04/1983
(3.) As per the grounds of detention the Customs Officers received the information that vessel UMR 1477 Krishnaprasad was to leave Persian Gulf Ports in the morning of 30-7-1982 with huge consignments of contraband goods and that the goods were likely to be landed on the coast of Dandi around 5-8-1982. In spite of vigil maintained by the Customs Officers around Dandi coast the consignment of the goods landed on 5-8-1982 at early hours. When the Customs Inspectors who were patrolling on the Dandi Coast saw the vessel they boarded the said vessel and found that one Mitha Bawa Deva Ditya Soma Natha and Makan were on the board but no contraband goods were found from the said vessel. They came to know from the crew that the said vessel landed around midnight and the contraband goods were removed to the village. While the Customs Inspectors were questioning the said members of the crew the detenu reached there with some of his persons and prevailed upon the officers and did not allow them to seize the said vessel. On 6-8-1982 Customs Officers saw a group of persons near Gheewala Falia and suspecting that those persons might have brought contraband goods some rounds were fired to control the said group. In the said group the detenu was also present. Other persons ran away but he remained there and when he was questioned he had not given satisfactory explanation regarding his presence at that place with such big crowd. At that time he had disclosed before the Customs Officers that there were only 150 packages of textiles and that he had already removed the said goods. In the morning of 7/08/1982 report was received that the smuggled goods were to be transported from Dandi in two trucks. Therefore a watch was kept at Chikhli crossing and Bhilad check post. The truck which was intercepted at Chikhli crossing was found without occupants while in the truck which was intercepted at Bhilad checkpost one junior driver named Lakhbir Singh was apprehended. Both the trucks were brought to Valsad Customs Division office and contraband goods like wristwatches video cassette recorders cassettes synthetic fabrics etc. valued in aggregate at Rs. 32 56 980 were found from truck No. DEB 751. From the other truck contraband goods worth Rs. 10 96 790 were found. The statement of Lakhbir Singh who was the junior driver of the truck was recorded and he had stated that he took the truck in the compound of one factory from where packages were loaded in the truck. Four persons were present in the factory compound from where packages were loaded. The detenu was one of them and that detenu looked like a leader of all those persons. The detaining authority has referred to the statements of number of other persons. One such statement is that of one Naeemkhan Ismailkhan who was the driver of detenus yellow colour jeep and as per his say smuggled goods belonging to detenu were landed on the coast of Dandi on 4/08/1982 at night. On the next day i.e. on 5/08/1982 he was called by the detenu and was taken to locality at extreme end of village Dandi towards Bhagva side and there he saw some packages lying and some labourers were also present there. The detenu informed the labourers to take those packages to Kudiyana village on head load and he promised to pay Rs. 150.00to each of them. When he accompanied by detenu was returning back Customs Officers stopped them. On 6/08/1982 the said Naeemkhan had gone with the detenu to village Kudiyana in a jeep. At Kudiyana village the detenu got down from jeep and went towards some huts where a blue coloured truck was parked and the packages were loaded into the truck. The said truck was brought by the detenu on the road and from there it was taken to some place. As per the statement of Somabhai Rambhai Khalasi alias Chako he had gone at the place known as Dari situated at the coast of Dandi where a vessel with smuggled goods had arrived and that the detenu was present along with other persons. The detenu informed him to keep a watch on the labourers when the packages of smuggled goods were off loaded from the vessel. 150 packages of smuggled goods were offloaded from the vessel. On the night of 5/08/1982 50 to 60 labourers came near Talavia Falia and that the said packages were despatched towards kudiyana village on head-load. After referring to other statements and considering materials which were placed before the competent authority the detention order for preventing the detenu from smuggling goods and from transporting smuggled goods was passed. The said detention order was subsequently confirmed by the Government only on the ground of transporting smuggled goods because the Advisory Board had reported under clause (c) of sec. 8 of the Act that out of the two grounds of detention viz. (i) smuggling of goods and (ii) transporting smuggled goods there was no sufficient cause for detention of the detenu on the ground of smuggling of goods but there was sufficient cause for detention on the ground of transporting smuggled goods. ;

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