KARACHI: Three directors of Model Paper & Board Private Ltd, Lahore were admitted to protective bail till Sept 09 by a Custom Appellate bench of High Court of Sindh here on Wednesday.

Malik Safdar Hussain, Muhammad Ishaq and Abdul Rzzak, directors of the said firm sought bail after they were booked in three different FIRs 1,2 & 3 of 2020 registered by R & D East on charge of smuggling Betel Nuts and other miscellaneous items under the garb of  importing waste paper.

The applicant accused filed the bail pleas through law firm Franklin Law Associates. A counsel from the firm arguing the bail application contended that applicants/ petitioners were innocent and were being falsely implicated. He maintained that local agents misused the User ID of the company. The applicants have no connection with the mis-declared goods nor have filed the GDs. The applicants are willing to join the investigations but some protection is needed to avoid arrest, the counsel contended.

The bench at this stage raised the issue of maintainability and asked that why the applicants have not approached the trial court (Special Court for Customs, Excise & Taxation).

The counsel from Franklin Law Associates arguing the issue of maintainability submitted that recently the trial court has declined bail in similar FIR’s. He further contended that the FIR are without lawful authority and suffers from jurisdiction, therefore the petition is maintainable. The counsel also cited order of the same bench in CP 6475 of 2020 in which protective bail was granted to the applicants.

The bench after hearing in detail ordered issuance of pre-admission notices to the respondents for 9-9-2020. The bench while admitting the accused to bail against solvent surety of rupees 100000 each and PR bond in the like amount, asked them surrender before the trial court. The bench also restrained the respondent Pakistan Customs from arresting the applicant/petitioners till next date of hearing.