P N MURUGESA MUDALIAR Vs. COLLECTOR OF CENTRAL EXCISE
LAWS(CE)-1986-10-3
CUSTOMS EXCISE AND GOLD(CONTROL) APPELLATE TRIBUNAL
Decided on October 21,1986

Appellant
VERSUS
Respondents

JUDGEMENT

S.Kalyanam, - (1.)THIS appeal is directed against the Order of Collector of Central Excise (Appeals), Madras dated 30.9.1985 confirming the order of the Deputy Collector of Central Excise, Madras dated 28.11.1984 imposing a penalty of Rs. 5000/- on the appellant under Section 74 of the Gold (Control) Act, 1968, hereinafter referred to as the Act.
(2.)On 30.11.1982, the Central Excise Officers of Gudiyatham-II Range searched the residential premises of the appellant at Gudiyatham and recovered from a steel cupboard on the eastern side of the house, a paper packet containing 4 gold biscuits with foreign markings. These gold biscuits were found to be of 24 ct. purity and totally weighing 467.200 gms. valued at Rs. 80.358/-. Since the appellant is neither a licensed gold dealer nor a certified goldsmith and could not account for the licit possession of the gold biscuits of foreign origin, they were seized by the authorities under mahazar as per law. The appellant gave a statement on 30.11.1982 before the Superintendent of Central Excise, Gudiyatham II Range stating that he purchased the gold biscuits under seizure from one Ekambara Muda-liar about 16 years prior to seizure with intention of manufacturing gold ornaments for his family use. It is in these circumstances, after further investigations, proceedings instituted against the appellant by the authorities ultimately resulted in the present impugned order, now appealed against.
Shri Jagadeesan, the learned Counsel for the appellant submitted that the impugned order is violative of the principles of natural justice inasmuch as the appellant's request for cross examination of the mahazar and statement witnesses was not granted. It was further urged that the appellant had some health problem and was undergoing treatment between 14.11.1982 to 28.11.1982 for acute gastro enteritis and again between 29.11.1982 to 12.12.1982 with the result at the time of seizure, the appellant did not know the nature of documents he was signing for. It was further contended that the seizure of the gold biscuits from the appellant's house would not indicate that the appellant was in conscious possession of the same. The statement recorded from the appellant by the authorities and relied upon in the impugned order was also assailed as not voluntary and true and was brought about under circumstances of threat and coercion.

(3.)SHRI K.K. Bhatia, the learned SDR contended that the gold biscuits have been recovered under mahazar as per law attested by witnesses and the appellant himself as well as his son. The learned SDR further urged that the statement of the appellant dated 30.11.1982 is voluntary and true and would merit acceptance. The learned SDR further contended that mahazar being a contemporaneous document evidencing seizure of incriminating documents, the appellant cannot claim to have suffered any prejudice by reason of the fact that the mahazar witness was not produced for cross examination.


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