NUTAN J PATEL Vs. S V PRASAD
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
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Syed Shah Mohammed Quadri, J. -
(1.)By order dated 20-4-1992 bearing No. 485/General. A/91-1 passed under S. 3(1) of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974 (as amended) (for short 'COFEPOSA Act') read with G.O. Ms. No. 621, General Administration (General A) Department, dated 15-11-1990 of the Government of Andhra Pradesh, the Secretary to Government (Political), 1st respondent herein, passed an order directing that Shri Jayantibhai Rambhai Patel alias Jayantibhai R. Patel alias Jayant Patel S/o Rambhai R. Patel (hereinafter referred to as 'the detenu') be detained under S. 3(1)(i) of the said Act and kept in Central Prison, Hyderabad. The petitioner, wife of the detenu, filed this writ petition challenging the validity of the said order and praying to direct the respondents to produce the detenu before this Court and for setting him at liberty forthwith.
(2.)On 1-4-1992 a consignment said to be of lead scrap in two containers in favour of M/s Dhruva Imports and Exports Private Limited, Hyderabad (for short 'Dhruva') held by Shri Vikram, was received at the Inland Container Depot (ICD), Hyderabad. A bill of entry for the said consignment was filed by M/s Sea Horse Shipping and Ship Management (P) Limited, Hyderabad (for short 'Sea Horse') on behalf of the said Dhruva. Shri M. V. Vinay was holding the Identity Card of the Customs House Agent of Sea Horse. The Officers asked him to open two containers one by one for inspection. On behalf of Dhruva the said Shri Vikram was present at Inland Container Depot (ICD). One Shri Kishore Dutt claimed that he was the representative of the importer of goods i.e., the detenu, which was confirmed by Vikram of Dhruva. Each of the container was having 80 steel drums out of which only 8 in each container (16 in 160) container lead scrap, valued at Rs. 1,62,013.00, the remaining 144 drums contained large quantity of ball and roller bearings of different shapes and sizes in original packings secured in gunny covers and card-board boxes as entered in separate inventories in respect of each drum, valued at Rs. 1,69,07,185.00, 160 steel drums in two containers were valued at Rs. 32,000.00. After detecting this the said Kishore Dutt and Vikram were taken for investigation, on the ground that the said ball and roller bearings were smuggled along with the lead scrap in contravention of S. 111 of the Customs Act and were therefore liable to be confiscated. During investigation the authorities recorded the statements of Kishore Dutt and Vikram. Vikram was also holding M/s Premier Freight Clearing Private Limited, Hyderabad (for short 'Premier'). On the same day under a search warrant, the said business premises of Vikram was searched, which resulted in recovery of pink slip containing some numbers and a blank letter head of Dhruva. The Officers also searched the residential premises of Kishore Dutt on the same day under a search warrant and seized some documents including Vikram's pass-book. Vinay in his statement stated that he was an employee of Sea Horse which was clearing the consignment on the request of Vikram made on 25-3-1992. They recorded the statement of the detenu at Bombay on 2-4-1992 when he surrendered his passport and thereafter at Hyderabad on different dates. He admitted that he knew closely Kishore Dutt and Vikram and that he was earlier detained for smuggling goods into India under the cover of declared consignment of waste paper and was under detention for three months in 1989 but denied that he had any connection with the smuggling of ball and roller bearings under the cover of lead scrap. On the basis of the statements recorded and the material collected during the search and investigation made in connection with the said consignment, the detaining authority was convinced that the detenu was engaged in smuggling into India the contraband ball and roller bearings under the cover of declared lead scrap and passed the impugned order of detention.
(3.)Shri Ramjethmalani, the learned counsel for the petitioner urged mainly three contentions before us viz., (i) That the impugned order of detention suffers from non-application of mind; (ii) The detention order is not valid under S. 3 of COFEPOSA Act as the requirements of sub-section (1) of S. 3 are not complied with and (iii) in view of S. 11 of COFEPOSA Act, the detenu has a right to make representation to various authorities mentioned therein and this right is in addition to the right under S. 21 of the General Clauses Act; the grounds of detention did not refer to this right therefore the right of representation under S. 21 of the General Clauses Act is violated.
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