Decided on August 01,1986



S. Kalyanam, Member (J) - (1.)SINCE the above appeals arise out of a common order and relate to a single transaction, they are taken up together and disposed of by a common order.
(2.)The appeals are directed against the Order in Original C.No. VIII/ 10/23/83-Cus. Adj./C.No. XVII/8/4/83 GC., dated the 13th January, 1984 passed by the Collector of Customs, Cochin.
The residence of the appellants at Ernakulam was searched by the Officers of the Customs Intelligence Unit, Cochin on 23-12-1982 and 24-12-1982. During the course of search, the. authorities recovered 1039 grammes of gold ornaments and gold articles from an iron safe placed in the ground-floor puja room of the house. The authorities dug up certain suspected spots in the open space within the residential compound of the appellant and on 23-12-1982 at about 11.30 A.M., three polythene packages containing silver ingots were dug up from 3 feet below the ground level. The authorities also recovered on 24-12-1982 at about 1.00 A.M. one brass vessel containing gold coins with foreign markings, standard gold bars, gold ingots and gold ornaments, like chains, pendants, totally weighing 3186 gms. from about three feet below the ground level. Another quantity of 396 gms. of gold coins, rings, pendant etc., was also recovered on 24-12-1982 at about 4.00 A.M. from the appellant's house two feet below a Thulasithara. The appellants Chandrasekhara Pai and his son Ratnakara Pai are partners of a firm under the name and style of M/s. P.P. Chandrasekhara Pai & Sons, having a gold dealer licence. The appellants were dealing in silver at Ernakulam. Since the gold and ornaments were not accounted for in the statutory registers of the firm and since the authorities had reason to believe that the gold with foreign markings were contraband gold and the silver ingots were kept stored for eventual smuggling out of India in contravention of the Customs Act, 1962, the gold ornaments and silver ingots were seized by the authorities as per law, under mahazar, attested by witnesses.

(3.)APPELLANT Chandrasekhara Pai gave a statement before the authorities on 24-12-1982 stating inter alia that the gold and ornaments weighing 3189 gms. under seizure were buried by him in the flower bed five years earlier and he had not made any declaration about the same as per law. APPELLANT Ratnakara Pai in his statement before the authorities on 24-12-1982 admitted that he had kept buried the silver bars under seizure. It is in these circumstances, after further investigations, proceedings were instituted against the appellants under the provisions of the Gold (Control) Act, 1968, as well as Customs Act, 1962.

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