Mumbai: The CBI approached the Bombay High Court today seeking custody of six persons, including four senior Customs officials, arrested in a corruption case.
The CBI had on May 1 arrested the six persons, including four Deputy Commissioner rank officials of the Customs department in Mumbai, for allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs 50 lakh from an importer to clear his consignment. The accused had been remanded in CBI custody for three days.
But a special CBI court yesterday remanded all of them in judicial custody even as the CBI sought their custody.
Aggrieved with this order, the probe agency today filed a petition in the high court seeking setting aside of the lower court order. It sought custody of the accused till May 13.
The CBI, in its petition, said the lower court order remanding the accused to judicial custody was wrong, illegal and perverse in law.
The accused are not cooperating with the probe and hence their further custody is required, it said.
“This is a case of larger conspiracy, wherein all three Preventive and Intelligence units of Customs Rummaging and Intelligence, Marine and Preventive Wing, and Special Intelligence and Investigation Branch have a criminal meeting of mind to obtain illegal gratification in the guise of helping importers,” the petition said.
Hence, to unearth the larger conspiracy, custodial interrogation of arrested accused is necessary, it said.
The petition added that preliminary investigation has also revealed involvement of custom house agents, who helped the arrested accused in collection and laundering of the bribe amount.
“The agents have to be identified and apprehended and the bribe amount of Rs 11 lakh paid to him needs to be recovered,” CBI said.
It added that apart from accepting and demanding bribe from importers for clearing their consignments, it has also come to light that some of the imported goods are offloaded by the customs officials and taken away for personal use.
Justice Bharati Dangre today posted the petition for hearing on May 7.
The four deputy commissioners arrested are Mukesh Meena, Rajeev Kumar Singh, Sandeep Yadava and Sudarshan Meena.
The other two persons arrested are – Manish Singh, a superintendent in the customs department and a private person Nilesh Singh.
One of the deputy commissioners and Nilesh Singh were arrested by CBI allegedly while accepting Rs five lakh from the complainant.
The amount was part of the Rs 50 lakh bribe amount demanded by the accused for clearing two consignments of the complainant, the CBI said.