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Customs Court takes statement on record of complainant in betel nuts smuggling case

Customs Court takes statement on record of complainant in betel nuts smuggling case

KARACHI: Investigation officer Muhammad Zafar Arshad produced statement of complainant Shahzad Ahmed, Appraising officer, Appraisement West before the customs court on Wednesday against suspects namely Sohail Ali, proprietor of M/s Ajmair Impex and others, who were nominated in a case of attempting to smuggle 52158 kilograms of betel nuts valuing to Rs. 6,916,151 in Karachi.

During the hearing, investigation officer appeared before the court and submitted complainant’s statement which was recorded by him.

According to the statement, I do hereby state that in pursuance of information about smuggling of betel nuts under the guise of galvanized plain sheets, I had examined three containers imported by M/s Ajmair Impex Lahore from Jebel Ali, UAE arrived at Karachi Port, the said consignment was meant for Customs Appraisement, Lahore under transshipment to be transported by bonded carrier M/s Docks Pvt Ltd Karachi. For the clearance of said consignment, a transshipment goods declaration was filed.

Complainant said that upon physical examination carried out in presence of two independent witnesses all three containers were found stuffed with betel nuts packed jute bags instead of declared description on the face of said goods declaration. The recovered betel nuts was found to 52158 kilograms and I seized it under Section 168 of the Customs Act, 1969 and a notice in this behalf was served upon the custodian M/s Karachi International Container Terminal (KICT).

According to him, after completion of required formalities, I lodged FIR of the case in the customs court contains all material particulars/ information addresses of importer, bonded carrier, container numbers, goods declaration number etc, therefore, it may be treated as integral part of this statement of mine.

It needs to be mentioned here that on last date of hearing, investigation officer Customs Collectorate Apprasement West Customs House Karachi had submitted interim charge sheet against suspects namely Sohail Ali, proprietor of M/s Ajmair Impex, Muhammad Khalid son of Usman, Operational Manager of M/s Docks Pvt Ltd, Sunny Raj, Project Manager M/s Docks Pvt Ltd, Shehzoor Hussain son of Ghulam Hussain, Loading Supervisor of  M/s Docks Pvt Ltd, Syed Uzair Ali son of Syed Afaq Ali, Computer Operator of  M/s Docks Pvt Ltd, Mansoor Ahmed son of Naseer Ahmed, Director of M/s Docks Pvt Ltd, Arbab Khan son of Ishtiaq Muhammad, Director of  M/s Docks Pvt Ltd and others.

Investigation officer further informed the court that during the investigation, it was revealed that above mentioned suspects declared goods on the basis of fake NOCs galvanized plain sheets prime and secondary quality, quantity 52050 kilograms valued at US$15094.50 equivalent to Rs 1,701,468, however, during the search, officials of the customs authorities recovered 52158 kilograms betel nuts valuing to Rs6,916,151, he submitted that they also evaded the amount of duty and taxes in the tune of Rs8,57,176.

According to the interim charge sheet, names of Shahzad Ahmed, Appraisement Officer Customs Collectorate Appraisement West, Hussain son of Ahmed, Sultan Mehmood and Muhammad Zafar Arshad have been mentioned in the charge sheet as witnesses of the prosecution.

Moreover, court had sent suspect Sohail Ali, proprietor of M/s Ajmair Impex to Lahore booked in another case registered in Lahore.