ISLAMABAD: A Special Custom Reference Application (SCRA) filed by Additional Director, Intelligence & Investigations, Islamabad against Friends Corporation, Rawalpindi was decided against the department by Islamabad High Court Custom Appellate bench.

The SCRA challenged the judgment by the tribunal which allowed an appeal filed by the Friends Corporation. Ghulam Haider Shaikh advocate of Franklin Law Associates appeared for the respondent company.

As per details controversy pertains to 76 units of LED Televisions recovered during a search of premises of the respondent Friends Corporation. During the raid 186 LED sets of different brands of foreign origin were recovered and seized. 84 sets were released after respondent showed evidence regarding import followed by release of another 26 sets leaving 76 sets still in custody of I&I, Islamabad.

The respondent pleaded before the Additional Collector (Adjudication) that it had purchased the LED TV sets from Rock Mars Industries (Pvt) Ltd based in Karachi on deffered payment of 90 days vide Commercial Invoice dated 01.06.2018 supported by Sales Tax Invoice No 297, dated 01.09.2018. It was further contended that Rock Mars imported the component which were later assembled in Pakistan. The Adjudicating authority disbelieved the contention holding that it was an afterthought and belatedly issued.

The Custom Appellate Tribunal, the last fact finding forum disagreed with the order of Adjudicator on ground that  in Show Cause Notice dated 06.9.2018 there was no mention of Section 2 (s) or Section 16 of the Customs Act 1969. The tribunal reached to the conclusion that  allegation of smuggling was not proved through cogent evidence. The tribunal also believed in Goods Declaration filed by the Rock Mars.

The IHC bench comprising Justice Arbab Muhammad Tahir and Justice Maingul Hassan Aurangzeb while dismissing the SCRA passed the following order:

We would tend to agree with the counsel for the respondent No. 1, that if the Additional Collector (Adjudication) had any doubt as to the authenticity of the goods declaration produced by respondent No.1 in support of contention that M/s Rock Mars had imported components of the TV sets, it could have verified this fact from M/s Rock Mars, Furthermore, the Additional Collector (Adjudication) could have also ascertained and verified from Rock Mars whether it was an assembler of Television sets and that the assembled Television sets with imported components had been sold to respondent No 1. This process was not carried out by the Additional Collector (Adjudication).