Misuse of Green Status ID: SHC to hear in detail today

KARACHI: A division bench of High Court of Sindh (SHC) comprising Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed will hear a constitutional petition filed by Khurram Iqbal of Khurram Steel Mills challenging detention of three consignments by custom officials, today.

Ismat Mehdi advocate, counsel for petitioner has been asked to show to the court that the client came to the court “with clean hands”. The issue was raised by Masooda Siraj, counsel for respondent Collector Customs as she rebutted a claim by the petitioner side that custom duty for the disputed consignments has already been paid.

The petitioner seeks early hearing of the petition as according to them they have sustained a demurrage of rupees 5Crore already. Beside these three consignments, 113 others have already arrived at the port, Ismat Mehdi advocate told the bench praying for immediate release of the consignments.

Earlier para wise comments by the respondent Collector Customs said that claim of payment of duty by the petitioner is incorrect. It was further stated that consignments in dispute could not be assessed under section 80 of the Customs Act 1969 due to non-appearance of the petitioner and thus question of payment of duty and taxes does not arise at all. The petitioner was enjoying the facility of “Green Status ID” for clearance of consignments of Iron and steel scrap through Weboc which means that consignments by the petitioner/importer were cleared without examination and assessment by the custom officers.

The staff of Directorate of Intelligence and Investigations on a credible information intercepted three consignments on 7-12-2016 and two more a few days after. The physical examination established the charges of “gross mis-declaration and evasion of huge amount of duty and taxes”. A FIR was lodged PQ 228/DC I/Khurram Steel/2016 on 11-12-2016 after which arrests were also made and accused later obtained bail.

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