High court quashes 19-year-old case | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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High court quashes 19-year-old case

A 19-year-old criminal case filed by the Customs department was annulled by the Bombay High Court on Saturday, reports Urvi Mahajani.

mumbai Updated: Mar 28, 2010 01:24 IST
Urvi Mahajani

A 19-year-old criminal case filed by the Customs department was annulled by the Bombay High Court on Saturday.

The Customs department wanted to pursue the case against defendant V. Rama Rao although the Central Excise and Sales Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) set aside the compliant.

Rao, the director of P.J. Pipes and Vessels Limited, was exonerated by CESTAT in August 2003. “How does the Customs department expect to get his conviction based on material on which CESTAT exonerated him?” asked Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari.

The Customs filed the criminal case against P.J. Pipes for allegedly violating licence conditions for importing special stainless steel.

Rao’s company manufactured casing pipes and tubes with thread protectors and supplied them to the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).

Between December 1988 and March 1989, ONGC issued purchase orders to P.J. Pipes for casing pipes. P.J. Pipes acquired the Special Imprest License from the Customs for import of duty-free raw material for export.

P.J. Pipes, however, diverted the imported raw material to the local market instead of using it to manufacture ONGC’s consignment.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence investigated the import in 1991 and the Customs imposed a penalty of Rs 2.5 lakh on P.J. Pipes.

Rao’s advocate, Niranjan Mundargi, said a metropolitan magistrate, in October 1992, initiated criminal proceedings against P.J. Pipes, the managing director [now deceased], Rao and the chartered engineer.

Rao approached the CESTAT, which exonerated him. Rao then filed a discharge application before the magistrate. The application was rejected in September 2009 after which he approached the HC.