Decided on March 24,1986



S. Kalyanam, Member (J) - (1.)THE revision applications filed before the Government of India against the order of the Central Board of Excise and Customs referred to supra stand transferred to the Tribunal in terms of Section 131B of the Customs Act, 1962, hereinafter referred to as the Act, to be disposed of as appeals. Since the above appeals arise out of a common order and are inter-connected, they are taken up together and disposed of by a common order. THE Collector of Central Excise, Bangalore, by order dated 8-7-1976 in C.No. VlII/10M2/71-Cus. imposed a penalty under Section 112(b)(i) of Rs. 10 lakhs, Rs. 8 lakhs, Rs. 50,000/-and Rs. 50,000/- respectively on appellant M.B. Moosa (appeal No. 160/83), Mammali Haji (appeal No. 185/80), Khatib Ali Saheb (appeal No. 187/80) and Khatib Abbas Saheb (appeal No. 282/80). Appellant Khatib Ali Saheb is not represented before us.
(2.)The brief facts relevant for the appeals are as follows. On the basis of information that goods of foreign origin have been brought and dumped in a hut near Gujjarbettu sea coast, Udupi Taluk, Karnataka State, the authorities on the night of 28/29-12-1971 raided the same and recovered 94 gunny bundles which on examination were found to contain fabrics, metallic yarn, calculators and Cassette car Stereo Bigston (Player/recorder), all of foreign origin. The hut belonged to one Shabi Fernandez of Badanidiyur village. Since nobody claimed the goods, the goods were seized under maha-zar as per law. During the course of investigation, the authorities examined a number of persons as detailed in the original order of adjudication and recorded their statements which included the appellants herein and others. Investigation revealed that an Ambassador car bearing registration No. MYG 3288 in the ownership and possession of appellant Khatib Abbas Saheb was used for the transport of the goods under seizure. It is in these circumstances, after due investigation, proceedings were instituted against the appellants herein and others which culminated in the impugned order now appealed against.
Shri Ratna Singh, the learned counsel appeared for appellants Moosa and Mammali Haji and made his submissions while Shri Nambiar, the learned counsel appeared on behalf of the appellant Khatib Abbas Saheb and nobody represented appellant Khatib Ali Saheb.

(3.)IT was contended on behalf of appellant Moosa that he has been implicated only by two persons viz. V. Abbas and Abu Mohamed and since they are in the possession of a co-accused arid since they have also subsequently retracted their statements, no reliance can be placed in law on the same. IT was further urged that retracted statements require corrobora-tion in law and the same being absent in the case, the appellant should have been exonerated of the charge. IT was submitted that the reference by the persons would not point to appellant Moosa and in the circumstances of this case, the adjudicating authority at least to satisfy his conscience should have asked the witnesses to identify appellant Moosa. The learned counsel also contended that the prosecution in the Court of Judicial First Class Magistrate, Udupi, in C.No. 1104 of 1974 against the appellant and others having ended in acquittal, the appellant should be absolved of the charge. The learned counsel also contended that the appellants were kept in illegal detention for over a week till 7-1-1972 and so the statements recorded during such detention are not valid in law. The learned counsel also placed reliance on certain rulings of the Supreme Court to contend that fundamental principles of criminal jurisprudence would govern adjudication proceedings which are quasi criminal in nature and also for the proposition regarding the applicability of the principles of Section 30 of the Evidence Act. So far as appellant Mammali Haji is concerned,' the learned counsel conceded the fact that he has been implicated by a number of persons but nevertheless adopted his other submissions made on behalf of appellant Moosa for exonerating him of the charge.

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