SHC quash FIR by Customs, IRS may take cognizance Dispute over petitioner being manufacturer or not

KARACHI: Hearing a dispute over registration of FIR by authorities of Pakistan Customs alleging that petitioner is not a manufacturer yet abused concession, a customs appellate bench of High Court of Sindh on Wednesday allowed the petition and quashed the FIR.

Muhammad Muqeet Khalid filed the petition (CP-D 1029/2013) through Ismat Mehdi Advocate challenging the impugned FIR. Wajeeha Mehdi advocate appearing for the petitioner submitted that the Directorate of Intelligence & Investigations lack jurisdiction. A company is registered with the Sales Tax Authorities for issuance of Sales Tax Registration (STRN) for applied category and Sales Tax department alone can suspend, cancel or take any other action if any violation is reported for unearthed. Customs has no jurisdiction to interfere in the matter, she submitted. She in reply to a query by the court also submitted that Advance Tax as ordered by the bench has been deposited.

The bench also heard Iqbal Masih Khurram advocate appearing for respondent custom officials who maintained that the petitioner has abused the concession available to manufacturers and evaded tax worth rupees 415 million. As per reports from the concerned department, they only own a gowdown, he said relying on a report of Social Security Institution. It is basically a case of mis-declaration, he contended adding that they are not engaged in any manufacturing but doing trade in textile. He later conceded that case of the petitioner is covered under different case laws as cited by petitioner’s counsel.

The bench after a detailed hearing passed a lengthy order allowing the petition and quashed the FIR. The bench said however the IRS authorities are at liberty to take cognizance of the issue of status of petitioner as well as any misuse of concession availed under relevant SRO.

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