Punjab & Haryana HC orders CBI inquiry to fix liability of erring Customs Dept. and Anti Evasion GST Units on clearing of Consignment without making any Entry [Read Order]

CBI - Punjab and Haryana High Court - GST Evasion - Customs Department - Taxscan

The Punjab and Haryana High Court initiated CBI enquiry to fix liability of erring Customs Dept. and Anti Evasion GST Units in respect of clearing of Consignment without making any entry

The petitioner, Sunil Dutt is a registered informer of General Goods and Service Tax, Commissionerate (GST) i.e. respondent, and has helped in unearthing many scams and GST Evasion for which he has been granted the award. The petitioner is enrolled as a G – Card Holder by the Department of Customs on behalf of M/s. Safe Cargo Clearing Services and being a G-Card Holder, the petitioner is assisting in moving the files of the parties in the Department of Customs for handling the custom clearances and has also obtained a KYC Form, Import-Export Code, PAN Card, Aadhar Card, etc. from Prabhjot Singh.

The petitioner has argued that the petitioner has initially given the information to GST Department regarding a consignment which was illegally cleared by the Customs Department without making any entry and the same was intercepted by Preventive Wing of CGST Commissionerate, Ludhiana and it was found that the shipping line seal of the container was intact and not broken which suggested that the Customs Authorities never checked the consignment. When the consignment was checked by the Preventive Wing of CGST Commissionerate, Ludhiana, it was found containing 39,60,000 Cigarettes (100 mm each) of four different brands, 10030 Kgs of iron scrap, and 04 alloy wheels. Counsel for the petitioner has further submitted that the petitioner was apprehensive that since he has unearthed a scam, he may fell to the ire of the Customs Department as the Custom Official, who was the Port Incharge when the consignment was allowed to move out of the Port without making any entry, is now made the Head of the Special Investigative Team and therefore, the petitioner has every apprehension that he will not get the justice.

The single bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan noted that it is very strange and surprising that 02 Departments i.e. Department of Customs, Customs Commissionerate, Ludhiana and Anti-Evasion Unit, Central Goods & Service Tax, Commissionerate, Ludhiana, are fighting tooth and nail regarding fixing the liability as to how the consignment was cleared manually without making any entry by the Customs Department and as per stand of the Customs Department, there is a collusion of the official of the CGST Department with the petitioner and the other accused and in that process, the CGST Department is posing the petitioner as a Secret Informer/Source and has even filed a Secret Note under the signatures of Joint Commissioner, Central GST Commissionerate, Ludhiana, giving a clean chit to the petitioner, Sunil Dutt.

“The officers of Customs Department, as well as the CGST Department, derive their powers from the respective Customs Act, 1962 and the Central Goods and Services Act, 2017 and both Departments are part of premium investigating agencies, however, instead of fighting and levelling allegations against each other, the office of the Director-General of both the Departments should have intervened and settled the dispute. Therefore, taking note of the tardy, casual and irresponsible attitude of both the departments, I find it to be a fit case where the matter needs to be referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for conducting further investigation of the case and fix liability of the erring official(s),” the court said.

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