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Customs Official Given Clean Chit in Red Sanders Case
March, 19th 2014

The CBI on Tuesday gave clean chit to the Customs officer who was accused in a case registered after seizure of red sanders from ICTT at Vallarpadam in November 2012.

The CBI filed the chargesheet in the case at Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate Court.

The CBI exempted N Ajith Kumar, Superintendent of Customs Department, Customs House, Kochi, the first accused in the case and Ravindaran P Elayath, a businessman and the fourth accused in the case.

Yusuf, Pallath House, Pattoor, Desamangalam, Thrissur, and proprietor of Suweihan Exporting Thrissur and Kannan of Chennai who supplied red sanders were chargesheeted under Sections 120 B, 511 R/W 420 of the IPC.

The case against the accused persons is that Ajith Kumar entered into a criminal conspiracy with Yusuf, proprietor of Suweihan Exporting Thrissur and Ravindaran P Elayath proprietor of Cross Water Shipping and Logistics, Ernakulam.

It was alleged that Ajith Kumar had allowed export of red sanders which is a banned item for export as per the CITES declaration. He allegedly cleared the consignment during the Customs clearance at the Container Freight Station at Wellington Island.

As per the chargesheet, it might be due to a computer error that the consignment was cleared.

“Customs officer depended upon nature of material and selection of the consignment by Electronic Data Inter Change System in which computer may or may not select consignment randomly for open checking. Similarly, the consignment for the shipment comes under the criteria of free shipping bills, the said cargo was not at all required to be examined,” the CBI stated.

As per the chargesheet, Yusuf possessed import and export licence issued by the Director General of Foreign Trade and he also possessed Export Registration from the Coir Board.

It ws Kannan who sent the consignment of red sanders illegally abroad. Since Kannan had no export licence, he gave money ranging from `15,000 to `25,000 as remuneration to Yusuf for each consignment.

It was in November 16, 2013, that the DRI intercepted a lorry with container carrying red sanders from ICTT Vallarpadam.

There were 7,750 logs of red sanders worth `77.50 lakh. As per the consignment bill, Suweihan Exporting Thrissur had registered the consignment for sending 4,850 pieces of coir pith worth $ 4,515.

The DRI first arrested Yusuf but he was released on bail. Kannan is still absconding.

Following this, the CBI registered another case, suspecting the involvement of Customs officials in the case. The case was registered against N Ajith Kumar, Yusuf, Kanan and Ravendaran P Elayath. P Jyothi Kumar, Inspector, CBI Kochi, investigated the case.

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