Decided on February 22,1991

Hansraj Baid Appellant
Collector Of Customs (Prev.), W.B., Calcutta Respondents


T.P.NAMBIAR, J. - (1.) THE above captioned appellants have filed these two appeals against an order passed by the learned Collector of Customs (Preventive), West Bengal, Calcutta, in Order No. 36/86 -Prev., dated 6 -5 -1986. In terms of that order, US $ 8600 was confiscated under Section 121 of the Customs Act, 1962. Rs. 1.20 lakhs seized from the appellant Jagdish Prasad Soni was confiscated under Section 121 of the Act. A personal penalty of Rs. 2,500/ - was imposed on the appellant Jagdish Prasad Soni. A personal penalty of Rs. 5,000/ - was imposed on the appellant Hansraj Baid.
(2.) THE brief facts of the case are that on reliable information, in the afternoon of 8 -5 -1985, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Zonal Unit, Calcutta, made a search with a search authorisation under Section 105 of the Act in the premises No. 8, Hanspukuria 1st lane, Calcutta, belonging to appellant Jagdish Prasad Soni and Onkarmal Soni. The case of the department is that a sum of Rs. 1.20 lakhs, being the amount received on sale of smuggled gold, was seized from the possession of appellant Jagdish Prasad Soni. It was also the case of the Department that from Premises No. 7, they seized US $ 8,600 which belonged to Jagdish Prasad Soni. The statement of Jagdish Prasad Soni was taken on 8 -5 -1985. It is the case of the department that Jagdish Prasad Soni gave a detailed account of the smuggling transaction in this statement, and the statements of Madanlal Sharma and other persons were recorded by the officers. On the strength of the seizure and the statements, show cause notices were issued to both these appellants to show cause as to why the Indian currency should not be confiscated under Section 121 of the Act and the US $ 8,600 should not be confiscated under Section 111 of the Act and as to why they should not be penalised under Section 112 of the Act. Replies were filed by the appellants and the personal hearing was granted and the impugned order was passed.
(3.) THE learned Advocate Shri K.B. Basu appearing for the appellant Hansraj Baid contended that the only evidence against Hansraj Baid is the statement of coaccused Jagdish Prasad Soni and that is insufficient to find him guilty in this case. He relied on the decision of the Supreme Court reported in AIR 1985 S.C. 866. The learned Barrister Shri S.K. Roy appearing for the appellant Jagdish Prasad Soni contended before us that the premises No. 8 belonged to the appellant from where Rs. 1.20 lakhs was recovered. He contended that premises No. 7 from where US $ 8,600 was seized was in the possession of Onkarmal Soni. He contended that there is nothing to show that the appellant was in any concerned with the US Dollars. It was also contended that there is no evidence to show that Rs. 1.20 lakhs was the proceeds of sale of smuggled gold. He also contended that the statement given by Jagdish Prasad Soni is not a voluntary statement and it was retracted on 9 -5 -1985 when he was produced before the learned Metropolitan Magistrate. Therefore, it was contended that the statement is inadmissible. It was also contended that the telephone No. 322621 did not belong to the appellant and there is no proof to show that the appellant had any telephonic conversation with any other parties for dealing in gold. In support of his contention, he relied on the following decisions : - 1983 (12) E.L.T. 401 1988 (33) E.L.T. 444 1988 (38) E.L.T. 636 1986 (25) E.L.T. 965 1987 (29) E.L.T. 131 ;

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