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Malaysian citizen to get 600 grams of gold back

Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal, Chennai has directed the government to return over 600 grams of gold jewellery retrieved from a Malaysian citizen who landed in the city in 2016 upon collecting Rs 1 lakh as penalty.

Malaysian citizen to get 600 grams of gold back
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Chennai

Ahamed Gani Natchiar, a resident of Penang, Malaysia travelled from Kuala Lumpur to Chennai on September 4, 2016. She was intercepted with 626 grams of gold jewellery valued at Rs 19.71 lakh and the offence was adjudicated before the Commissioner of Customs (Appeals). Eventually, the commissioner had imposed a penalty of Rs 1.95 lakh under section 112(a) of Customs Act, which was challenged before this tribunal.

The petitioner contended that section 125 of the Customs Act 1962 was misdirected in the present instance because it is only on prohibited goods. But the government submitted that she had not declared the gold jewellery and had attempted to depart from the customs area of the airport without making any effort to ascertain and comply with the statutory obligation to declare the goods.

Recording the submissions, C J Mathew (Technical) and P Dinesha (Judicial) said, “The petitioner claims she is a regular visitor and came to India to attend a wedding for which it is customary to wear jewellery. Further, there is nothing on record to establish that the import of gold is prohibited either under the Customs Act.”

The bench added: “Considering the circumstances, we are of the opinion that the imposition of penalty of Rs 1 lakh would suffice to meet the ends of justice.”

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