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Judiciary

Smuggling of memory cards worth Rs. 15 lakhs: Delhi High Court rejects ex-Immigration Officer's plea [Read Judgment]

By Shreya Agarwal      08 January, 2024 03:46 PM      0 Comments

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has rejected an ex-Immigration Officer's plea against a penalty of Rs. 4 lakhs imposed on him for abetting smuggling of 9500 memory cards worth Rs. 15 lakhs at the India Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi.

A division bench of Justices Ravinder Dudeja and Yashwant Varma relied on the officer's own statement under Section 108 of the Customs Act, 1962 and held, "It is a settled law that the statement recorded under Section 108 of the Customs Act is a material piece of evidence and can be used as substantive evidence."

Noting that these statements were consistent, corroborated by the Panchnamas prepared, and the witnesses were also supporting each other regarding the incident of recovery, the Court dismissed the former officer's writ petition.

The Court added that the High Court exercising power under the writ jurisdiction cannot assume unlimited prerogative to correct all species of hardship or wrong decisions. This exercise must be restricted to grave dereliction of duty and flagrant abuse of fundamental principles of law and justice."

The Court relied on the fact that the accused officer had admitted to the facts as alleged in voluntary statements recorded under Section 108 of the Customs Act. He had admitted the recovery of the impugned goods from him and that the recovery proceedings were carried out by the Customs Officer after following due process of law.

Brief facts

The case was based on specific information about a passenger that he would be carrying the impugned goods on an Air India flight on January 26, 2011. 

It was observed by Customs Officers that upon arrival, he handed over a Hong Kong duty free shop polythene bag to the accused officer who in turn entered another In Charges office. 

Upon search of the said In-Charges room a bottle packing of Chivas Regal, 3 packets containing 7140 pieces of memory cards were recovered from the Hong Kong duty free bag.

Further, upon search of a laptop bag carried by the accused officer out of the said room, a brown taped packet comprising 2360 pieces of memory cards was recovered. The goods collectively valued at Rs. 15,01,000/- were seized under Section 110 of the Customs Act.

Cause Title: Shri Veerendra Singh v Union of India & Ors.

[Read Judgment]



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