KARACHI: An appellate bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Muhammad Humayun Khan on Wednesday grilled Deputy Collector, Preventive, Ali Raza in a case of raid at a godown in Mauripur area.
Are you ready, asked the bench at the outset of the proceedings and said how the raiding party and officer leading the raiding party came to the conclusion that goods available at the godown were smuggled one.
There were air-conditioners, Geysers and exercise machines in large number, the DC submitted.
Look at serial number 6 “office chairs” and tell us under which PCT these can be dealt with, the bench said. PCT 9403.1000, came the reply.
Whether the iron chairs are not made in Pakistan, the bench said asking the DC Ali Raza to explain invoking Section 2 (Smuggling).
It was the work of my predecessor, DC told the bench.
Everything is done by predecessor. It is not our concern, You are in a hot seat. It is your official duty, the bench observed asking the officer to read out Section 2 S of the Customs Act 1969.
The officer raiding a place needs to apply his mind further , state basis of his judgment that on what basis the goods available at a place be declared to be smuggled one. Why the chairs were included into smuggled items list, the bench enquired.
We make the inventory of everything available at a place of raid, DC said .
The bench again asked a section under which action could be taken by the custom authorities. The bench took strict notice of prompting by the sub-ordinate officer and said “DC Sahib you must be knowing the law, why this gentlemen is prompting”.
Identify yourself, the bench asked the subordinate officer who turned out to be Malik Safdar Ali, Preventive Officer. You must guide your boss properly. Do you even know what do the word “Evidence” mean, the bench said.
The bench expressing extreme displeasure over the manner in which raid was conducted and proceedings commenced ordered suspension of the notice issued to the petitioner under section 171 of the Customs Act 1969.
The bench put off further hearing till Nov 16 with a tentative observation that items listed in notice under section 171 do not fall in the category of smuggled goods.
The bench later ordered the DC and PO to attend each and every hearing till further orders.