(1.)Petitioner has challenged the detention order dated 28th May, 2001 passed under S. 3(1)(i) of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974 (hereinafter referred to as "COFEPOSA") with a view to prevent him from smuggling goods in future. The allegations against the petitioner in the grounds of detention are that he was holding an Indian Passport dated 26th October, 1994 and he arrived from Singapore on 30th March, 2001 at Chennai Airport. After completing migration formalities, he collected his baggages and was proceeding to exit gate where he was intercepted by Customs Intelligence Officer on suspicion that he might be carrying any dutiable goods. From his possession, Panasonic GD 92 Cellphones with accessories 100 Nos., Nokia 3310 Cellphones with accessories 50 Nos., Siemens C35 Cellphones with accessories 50 Nos., Nokia cellphone adapter 100 Nos., Nokia 5110 cellphone batteries 100 Nos. were recovered. According to the grounds of detention, the value of the seized goods was Rs. 13,90,000/-. His Boarding Pass and Customs Declaration Card were also seized. It is alleged that in his voluntary statement he admitted that he had visited Singapore twice earlier as a tourist he had gone to Singapore on 29th March, 2001 and that his friend helped him in procuring cellphones to market them in India for monetary consideration.
(2.)Petitioner was arrested on 31st March, 2001 and his bail application was rejected by the trial Court. Thereafter, he sent a representation dated 24th April, 2001 to the Commissioner of Customs, Chennai through the Superintendent, Central Prison, Chennai, stating that the seized goods did not belong to him. Thereafter, on 28th May, 2001, the impugned detention order was passed.
(3.)At the time of hearing of the matter, learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that there was total non-application of mind by the detaining authority before passing the impugned order; relevant record was not placed before the detaining authority and that there was delay in considering the representations. For the first ground, it has been contended that the petitioner was not involved in any smuggling activities and for the time being presuming that goods seized were of the petitioner it would hardly be a ground for detaining him under the COFEPOSA. The detaining authority has not considered the fact that it was the contention of the petitioner all throughout that he had not brought the said cellphones. For that purpose, he submitted that the boarding card was his but the baggages having no tags were not belonging to him. In any set of circumstances for the alleged incident, criminal prosecution was pending against him and his bail applications were rejected, therefore, there was no necessity of detaining the petitioner.