A week after the CBI registered a criminal offence against customs officers for allegedly indulging in malpractices and fleecing money from a passenger on the pretext of ‘customs duty’, the agency has registered two other separate offences on charges of criminal conspiracy and obtaining undue advantage for performing of public duty dishonestly against three customs officers, including a superintendent of customs, wherein the accused officers had made the two victims pay Rs 7,000 and Rs 5,000 respectively, through GPay earlier this month.
Complainant asked to pay Rs 28,000 as custom duty
According to the CBI, on February 15, a complaint was received from a Kasargod resident, Asif Abbas, alleging that after his arrival from Dubai on February 11, around 2.40 am and clearing formalities, when he reached the customs clearance zone around 3.50 am, he was intercepted by a person in a black t-shirt as he passed through the green channel.
“The said person thoroughly checked the complainant but did not find anything suspicious. The complainant was carrying an iPhone 13 Max Pro purchased eight months ago. The man in the black tee then referred Abbas to a customs officer in uniform. The uniformed officer informed Abbas that he had to pay Rs 28,000 as customs duty for carrying that phone from Dubai,” the CBI claimed, in its FIR.
“Abbas informed the officer he did not have that much money, at which the officer informed him that if he didn’t want to pay customs duty, he would have to pay him at least Rs 15,000 as a bribe and only then would he let the complainant go,” the FIR claimed.
Then Abbas was given the runaround. First, the uniformed officer sent him to the person in the black tee for permission to leave, as he had referred the complaint. In turn, the black-teed person sent him back to the uniformed officer, saying that he could only be allowed to go after a settlement with the uniformed customs officer. The complainant again met the customs officer and requested to be let go. After his repeated requests, the customs officer told the complainant that he could leave after paying Rs 7,000. The complainant informed the officer that he did not have a mobile network with which he could contact any person who could transfer the money.
Customs officer asked complainant to pay money through Google Pay
The customs officer called a havaldar and asked him to give his Google Pay number and switch on his mobile hotspot to enable the complainant to pay Rs 7,000. The havaldar gave the complainant a phone number to pay the amount demanded. Then the complainant made a WhatsApp call to his cousin, requesting him to pay Rs 7,000 on the phone number provided by the said havaldar. Then the complainant’s cousin paid the amount to the phone number of Shri Sanjay Joshi. After receipt of the bribe money, the customs officers allowed the complainant to go.
“The complaint was verified and it was found that the complainant, the havaldar and customs officer were in regular contact at the time of transaction of Rs 7,000 as bribe to the account of Sanjay Joshi. The statement of account of Sanjay Joshi was scrutinised and Rs 7,000 was found credited to his account from the cousin of the complainant,” the FIR claimed.
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