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  Metros   Mumbai  09 May 2018  DRI told to de-freeze acc of bizman who evaded duty

DRI told to de-freeze acc of bizman who evaded duty

THE ASIAN AGE. | SHAHAB ANSARI
Published : May 9, 2018, 2:25 am IST
Updated : May 9, 2018, 2:25 am IST

Kantawalla argued before the court that the DRI action was arbitrary.

Bombay high court
 Bombay high court

Mumbai: The Bombay high court has directed the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to de-freeze the bank account of a businessman after observing that there is no legal provision in the law that enables revenue officials to attach the bank accounts of a person who is charged for evading duty.

The division bench of Justice S.C. Dharmachikari and Justice P.D. Naik passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Abdul Salaam challenging attachment of his bank account by the DRI at a stage when charges against the petitioner were not proved and there were remedies available to him to challenge the DRI’s action against him.

The petitioner's counsel Dr Sujay Kantawalla said, “There is no provision in the Customs Act allowing freezing of bank accounts.”

The bank accounts were seized following the arrest of Abdul Salaam on the charges that he purportedly misdeclared the country of origin, description and value of goods imported. It was also alleged that petitioner evaded Anti-Dumping Duty amounting to Rs 2,08,87,134.

Though the petitioner was released on bail and on his request an order was passed to release his seized goods provisionally after following due process, the DRI attached the petitioner’s bank accounts.

Mr Kantawalla argued before the court that the DRI action was arbitrary, as it did not have powers under the law to freeze bank account of a person facing charge of evading duty.

The bench observed, “We do not see any justification for continuation of the attachment of the petitioner’s bank accounts,” said Justice Dharmadhikari.

“We have not been shown any legal provision enabling the official to go ahead and together with the seizure of the goods/imported consignment and simultaneously attach the bank accounts,” he further said.

“Merely because that (DRI) order determines some amount as due and payable, that by itself and without anything more, cannot justify the continued attachment of the bank accounts,” observed Justice Dharmadhikari while directing defreezing of the bank accounts of petitioner.

Tags: bombay high court, directorate of revenue intelligence