Investigation into the corruption racket involving four Customs officials has suffered a setback.
Customs House Agent Rajiv Gulati, from whose house the Directorate of Revenue Intelli-gence (DRI) had recovered nearly Rs 1.73 crore on February 3, has retracted his statement. The DRI had recorded Rajiv’s statement on February 4 and 5 under Section 108 of the Customs Act, which is admissible in court.
The DRI did not arrest Rajiv. He reportedly confessed that from the recovered cash Rs 42 lakh was his own money, while the rest belonged to four Customs officials — a deputy commissioner and three appraisers — posted at Nhava Sheva.
On Monday, the DRI recorded his uncle, Ashok Gulati’s statement. Ashok, Rajiv’s neighbour, works in the same firm.
But on Tuesday, Rajiv submitted an affidavit-cum-retraction of statement claiming he was illegally detained by the DRI for two days during which he was tortured and forced to give the statement. He also said the same should be produced before the authorities concerned or court. Rajiv’s lawyer Ravi Hirani confirmed this.
Additional Director General, DRI, Mumbai, K.K. Sharma was not available for comment.
An DRI official said Rajiv now claims that the entire seized amount was his, which he had kept to buy a property. The DRI has questioned two of the four Customs officials, while the other two are on leave.
The Directorate General of Vigilance, Customs and Central Excise is conducting a parallel probe in the case.