Smugglers’ vendetta? 21 customs officials in dock

As many as 21 customs officials at the Kempegowda International Airport, Devanahalli, are in the dock as an alleged smuggler filed a case against them with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). (DH File Photo)

As many as 21 customs officials at the Kempegowda International Airport, Devanahalli, are in the dock as an alleged smuggler filed a case against them with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The high court has recently stayed the FIR filed in April by the CBI after Customs Department filed strong objections against it.

According to sources in the customs department, the FIR was filed after the officials busted a businessman smuggling electronic goods. The businessman, Kriplani M, lost his rights to import and export goods due to his fraudulent practices and a complaint was also filed with the department.

Though the incident occurred in 2016, Kripalani took three years to shoot videos of customs officials in a clandestine manner in an attempt to implicate some of them. He used these videos to accuse 21 officials and seven others of ‘criminal conspiracy, forgery and criminal misconduct’. “Though he had filed a complaint with the department, it was dismissed within a short period due to lack of evidence and as his motive was to discredit officials who had busted his racket,” sources told DH.

As his efforts with the customs department did not yield any results, he approached the CBI to file a complaint against these officials.

“It is when the CBI declined to file a complaint due to lack of evidence did he file a writ petition with the high court seeking an FIR against all these officials. Seven others named in the FIR were witnesses to the complaint against him in the customs department,” sources added.

Though the customs department was not a party to the writ petition, the high court directed the CBI to file an FIR based on Kriplani’s petition. Subsequently, the CBI filed an FIR on April 10 this year, following which the customs department challenged the decision in the high court.

The court stayed the decision on April 16 and set June 10 as the next date of hearing to determine the validity of the case. 

In a nutshell

♦ The customs officials bust a businessman smuggling electronic goods after which he loses the rights to import and export goods.

♦ He shoots videos of customs officials in an attempt to implicate some of them. 

♦ Files a complaint with the customs department against the officials that was dismissed due to lack of evidence

♦ He then approaches the CBI against the officials

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