SAJJAN KUMAR PODDAR Vs. COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS PREV
LAWS(CE)-1991-7-1
CUSTOMS EXCISE AND GOLD(CONTROL) APPELLATE TRIBUNAL
Decided on July 30,1991

Appellant
VERSUS
Respondents

JUDGEMENT

T.P. Nambiar, Member (J) - (1.) THE above-captioned appeals are filed by the appellants against a common order passed by the Collector of Customs (Prev.), West Bengal, Calcutta in Order No. 1/87 (Prev.) dated 8-10-1986. In terms of that order the Learned Collector confiscated two pieces of wrist watches which were described at Item No. 4 of the Search List and he also confiscated diamonds which were described at Item Nos. 23 to 29 of the Search List under Section 111(d) of the Customs Act, 1962. THE Indian Currency amounting to Rs. 71,000.00 was confiscated under Section 121 of the Customs Act, 1962. A personal penalty of Rs. 20,000.00 each was imposed on Shri Sajjan Kumar Poddar and Shri Suresh Kumar Poddar Under Section 112 of the Customs Act, 1962. In terms of that order an amount of Rs. 40,000.00 which was also seized in this case along with the confiscated amount of Rs. 71,000.00 was returned on the ground that they were covered by the Gift Certificates representing as gifts made to the minor daughter of Shri Sajjan Kumar Poddar, Shrimati Nirmala Poddar.
(2.) The appellants have filed the above appeals against the confiscation order of the diamonds and the wrist watches as these appellants above-captioned have claimed these diamonds. As per their claims they have also claimed the wrist watches. The appellants S/Shri Sajjan Kumar Poddar and Suresh Kumar Poddar - have also challenged the legality of the order imposing penalties on them under Section 112 of the Customs Act, 1962. The brief facts of the case as per the Department reveal that pursuant to an information and on the strength of a Search Warrant a batch of Customs Officers went to search the residential premises of Shri Sajjan Kumar Poddar at 19, Balmukund Macker Road, Calcutta-700 007 at 9.15 A.M. on 4-11-1985. It was stated that they were obstructed in entering into the premises and the matter was reported to the Jora Sako Police Station and the Police Officers came to the assistance. Thereafter, the Customs Officers entered into the premises and it was the case of the Department that Shri Suresh Kumar Poddar, brother of Shri Sajjan Kumar Poddar escaped in the meantime through the open verandah opposite to the main entrance doors which were kept closed. It was also the case of the Department that the officers reported to the police that S/Shri Sajjan Kumar Poddar and Mahesh Kedia physically stopped the officers from entering into the room for search and thereafter, the search was conducted with the assistance of the Police Officers. As a result of search the consumer goods of foreign Item Nos. 1 to 19 of the search list were recovered inside the suitcase at Serial No. 20 lying in the bed-room which was bolted from inside by Shri Suresh Kumar Poddar. It was also the case of the Department that Indian Currency amounting to Rs. 1,22,405.00 was recovered from the bed-room under the occupation and control of Sajjan Kumar Poddar and the goods at Item Nos. 23 and 29 which are diamonds as mentioned in the Search List were recovered from the steel cupboard lying in the bed-room under occupation and control of Shri Sajjan Kumar Poddar. It was also the case of the Department that Shri Sajjan Kumar Poddar failed to produce any document in support of the legal possession and importation or acquisition of the goods so recovered. Out of the seized currency of Rs. 1,22,405/- an amount of Rs. 11,405.00 was returned to Shri Sajjan Kumar Poddar for their family expenses under receipt. Thereafter, all the goods mentioned in the Search List which are at Item Nos. 1 to 30 were seized by the officers. Out of these seized Items 23 to 29 are diamonds. Item No. 22 is Indian Currency of Rs. 1,11,000.00. Item No. 4 in the Search List comprises two pieces of Citizen Cavalry watches made in Japan. Item Nos. 4 and 23 to 29 and a sum of Rs. 71,000.00 out of Item No. 22 alone, were confiscated and the other items were released in favour of the appellants.
(3.) IT is the case of the Department that all these items were seized by them on a reasonable belief that they were smuggled into India. They also lodged a complaint to the police stating that Sajjan Kumar Poddar and Mahesh Kedia caused obstructions to them while they were discharging their lawful duty and the case under Section 353 of I.P.C. was registered against them.;


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