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SSB may get power to seize passports

Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) is considering transferring the power of seizing passports of the suspected persons on the borders of the country to Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), after the Parliament session. Debobrat Ghose reports.

business Updated: May 08, 2012 22:27 IST
Debobrat Ghose

Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) is considering transferring the power of seizing passports of the suspected persons on the borders of the country to Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), after the Parliament session.

In the wake of China's alleged presence in Nepal threatening India's security, the SSB has sought the special power. SSB is one of the India's central armed police forces under the ministry of home affairs (MHA).

The power to seize passport presently rests with the Customs and Immigration officials deputed on the country's borders, apart from the local police. According to the CBEC, the SSB has asked for the special power under Customs Act 1962 and Passport Act 1967. The SSB had sent the proposal to MHA for the first time on July 15, 2009, followed by a series of communications, with the last one on January 4, sources said.

"The MHA has sought our opinion on this issue and once we're through with the ongoing Parliament session, we'll work out modalities to transfer the power under the Customs Act to SSB," a top official at CBEC told Hindustan Times.

China's presence in Nepal is being seen as a threat similar to the one being faced due to its presence on the borders of Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet.

"SSB has informed the ministry of external affairs and MHA about the threat situation on Indo-Nepal border," an SSB source told HT on the condition of anonymity. "We have spoken to the CBEC and the proposal is now likely to get worked out," the source added.