Decided on December 09,1963



G.K.Mitter, J. - (1.)This is an appeal from an order discharging a Rule obtained by the appellants calling upon the respondents, the Collector of Customs and others to show cause why certain orders passed under various sections of the Sea Customs Act and the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act should not be quashed and why a written complaint made by the respondents, the Assistant Collector of Customs and Superintendent, Preventive Service under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act and case No. 876 of 1959 pending in the Court of the Presidency Magistrate, Calcutta, should not be stayed.
(2.)The appellants are Agarwal Trading Corporation, a firm registered under the Indian Partnership Act carrying on business at No. 191, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Calcutta and its partners Girdharilal Gupta and Puranmal Jain. The respondents are (1) the Assistant Collector of Customs and Superintendent, Preventive Service (2) and Additional Collector of Customs (3) Collector of Customs and (4) the Union of India.
(3.)The case arose out of a detection of Rs.51,000/- in Indian Currency Notes concealed in specially made cavities on the battens nailed to the inner sides of a wooden case booked for dispatch to Hongkong at Dum Dum Airport on October 25, 1958. The package was declared to contain articles of food like rassogolla, acher etc., under cover of Shipping bill No. A.E.F. No. 761 of October 18, 1958 to be shipped by Swiss Air. According to the shipping bill the consignor was one Ramghawan Singh, Karnari Mansions, Park Street, Calcutta and the consignee was one Iswarlal, 41, Wyndhem Street, Hong Kong. The Customs authorities instituted searches on the strength of warrants obtained from the Chief Presidency Magistrate Calcutta and various documents and books of accounts were seized not only at the business premises of the appellant firm but also at the respective residences of the partners on January 22, 1959. According to the Customs authorities the searches and the investigation revealed the following :-
(a) On Bhagwandeo Tewari at one time a cashier of the appellant firm had gone to the office of Thai Airways Co. Ltd., with the wooden case in question for booking the same on October 22, 1958. Two days thereafter he had been to the office of the Indian Airlines Corporation. The identity of Bhagwandeo Tewari as the person who had gone to the said air offices had been established by employees of Thai Airways Co. Ltd., and Traffic Assistants of Indian Airlines Corporation.

(b) The specimen writings of Bhagwandeo Tewari and the signature "Ramchandra" on the consignment note were from the same hand. The typing of the consignment note appeared to have been done on the typewriter of the appellant firm as was apparent from a comparison of the consignment note with a letter admittedly sent out by the appellant firm and signed by one of its partners Girdharilal Gupta.

(c) An account slip seized from the office of the appellant firm contained entries to show that Bhagwandeo Tewari was the person who actually transported and booked the package in question. The entry of Rs.123.73 nP. as freight to Hongkong was the exact amount shown on the consignment note for the package containing the currency. Bhagwandeo Tewari had admitted that the account slip was in his handwriting. Some of the costs and charges noted on the account slip in connection with the booking of package were also to be found in the books of account of the appellant firm.

(d) Both the consignor Ramghawan Singh and the consignee Iswarlal were fictitious persons.

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