Corruption racket: Customs top official too under scanner | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Corruption racket: Customs top official too under scanner

mumbai Updated: Mar 03, 2010 02:12 IST
Manish Pachouly

A Customs commissioner has come under the scanner for his alleged involvement with the Rs 1.73 crore cash seized from the Andheri residence of a Customs House Agent (CHA) last month.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had raided the residence of CHA Rajiv Gulati on February 3 and recovered the cash.

During the raid, the DRI found that part of the cash belonged to four Customs officials – a deputy commissioner and three appraisers. The DRI had roped in the Directorate General of Vigilance, Customs and Central Excise to investigate the corruption angle. Investigating further, the two agencies learnt that not only did the four Customs officials allegedly keep their money with Gulati, but a part of it also belonged to the commissioner posted at Customs House in Ballard Pier, a couple of years ago.

A senior Customs official said that the DRI was still investigating the case to determine if there was any duty evasion by importers as the cash could be part of a bribe. “The vigilance cell is investigating the concerned Customs officials who allegedly kept the cash with the CHA,” the official said.

The case became controversial with Gulati filing an affidavit-cum-retraction of statement on February 8 saying he was illegally detained by the DRI for two days during which he was tortured and forced to give the statement. The seized cash is in the Customs treasury.

In his statement during the raid, Gulati had said that of the total cash, Rs 42 lakh belonged to him while rest belonged to some Customs officials. In the retraction statement, he claimed that the DRI forced this statement to implicate him in a false case. However, the DRI and vigilance cell continued the investigation and last week.

The vigilance cell wrote to the Central Bureau of Investigation to take over the case so that a case under Prevention of Corruption Act can be registered against the suspected Customs officials.