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Customs officials helped in car smuggling racket: Court

india Updated: Jan 21, 2009 01:37 IST
Manish Pachouly
Manish Pachouly
Hindustan Times
Customs officials helped in car smuggling racket: Court

The international luxury car import racket and alleged corruption in the Customs Department earned several officials a rap on the knuckles from the sessions court on Tuesday.

Principal Judge T.V. Nalawade observed there was a need for a separate investigating agency to investigate the corrupt officials.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), which is investigating the racket, will now refer the case to the Directorate General of Vigilance Customs and Central Excise so that the involvement of Customs officials can be probed.

The court’s remark came last week, while hearing the anticipatory bail application of Jang Bahadur Singh Gujral, a Bandra-based car broker.

The DRI tightened the noose around Gujral after the arrest of car dealer Parvinder Singh Bhatia in September.

The DRI claims Bhatia, in his statement, named Gujral as his associate.

The DRI has alleged that Gujral, along with Bhatia and others, are part of a group that fraudulently imported 200 cars.

The DRI claims Gujral imported 12 cars in 2007-08. It also alleged that the value of the cars was fudged to evade customs duty.

While rejecting Gujral’s application for anticipatory bail, Principal Judge Nalawade observed: “Unless there is somebody from the institution and the department involved in the offence, clearance is not possible on such a large extent”.

The judge added: “I have no hesitation to observe that such customs duty evasion is possible only because of some corrupt officers, who directly and indirectly help for the evasion of customs duty,”