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Customs Court seeks reply on bail petition filed by accused involved in betel nut smuggling

Customs Court seeks reply on bail petition filed by accused involved in betel nut smuggling

KARACHI: The Customs Court issued notices to the special prosecutor for customs department and investigation officer on a bail petition filed by seven suspects, who were booked in a case of attempting to smuggle non-duty paid contraband betel nuts.

During the hearing on July 18, 2018, counsel for suspects namely Habid-ur-Rahman son of Haji Abdullah, Abdul Nafe son of Haji Abdul Ghaffar, Saqib Khan son of Anwar Khan, Ibrahim son of Saddique, Hamayun son of Alam Khan, Abdul Pukar son of Alif Khan and Najeebullah son of Boor Muhammad filed bail petition and argued that according to the prosecution, Pakistan Rangers deployed at Agra Taj Colony, Maripure, Road, Karachi intercepted three Suzuki pick-ups bearing registration number No AFR-2018, KT-3028 and KW-7518 and handed them over to customs officials who recovered total 5080 kg betel nuts from them.

He argued that betel nuts are importable and are available in open markets of Pakistan and value of the seized betel nuts has been shown exorbitantly high to show the false performance as Customs Collectorate Preventive has no power to determine the value of any item.

He further argued that perusal of FIR shows that prosecution invoked provision of Section 2 (s) Section 156 (8) & (89), which are not applicable in the instant case as betel nuts are not notified item and not included as an item in the notification of notified list issued under Section 2 (s) of the Customs Act, 1969.

He said that since betel nuts are not a notified item under section of 2 (S) of the Customs Act, 1969, this court has no jurisdiction to try the accused persons on the charges mentioned in the FIR.

He submitted that accused are ready to furnish solvent surety to the satisfaction of this court and case against them requires further inquiry as contemplated in section 497 (1) Cr.CP.

It needs to be mentioned that all accused are on physical remand. On last date of hearing, the court had sent them to customs department on physical remand and directed investigation officer to produce them on next date of hearing along with progress report.

According to the FIR, the case was registered for violation under Section 2 (s), 156(2), 157(2) and 178 of Customs Act, 1969 punishable under clause (8) (85) & 89 of Section 156 (i) ibid read with Section 3 (i) of Imports & Export Control Act, 1950.