HYDERABAD: Keeping in line with the directions of Dr. Sadiqullah Khan, Director, Directorate of Intelligence and Investigation (I&I), to curb the menace of smuggling, anti-smuggling squad under the supervision of Additional Director Syed Naeem Akhtar and Deputy Director Syed Muhammed Raza Naqvi tightened the controls and kept extra vigilance against the organized smuggling of contraband goods and vehicles in the region.
Talking with Customs Today, Director Customs I&I Hyderabad Dr Sadiqullah Khan said that the Directorate covers an area of 137,134 kilometers and constitutes Regional office at Hyderabad and Range office at Sukkur with two mobile squads. He said recently in two separate cases the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of this Directorate on a tip-off intercepted a trailer mounted with 45 feet container and recovered huge quantity of smuggled betel nuts concealed under the garb of plastic ware worth Rs19.40 million. Secondly the team intercepted a 10 wheeler Hino truck and recovered huge quantity of betel nuts and poppy seeds with the assistance of Sindh Rangers at Khairpur. One person was arrested and FIR was lodged on 15 February 2020.
The Director said moreover, the Directorate has made out 21 seizures of contraband goods i.e. huge quantity of cloth, betel nuts, HSD and cigarettes, tyres, gutka, along with conveyance vehicles, and NCP vehicles were also seized worth Rs 95.90 million including duty & taxes, which are higher by 71 percent as compared with corresponding period of last financial year.
He told that 140.2 kilograms contraband narcotics also seized in the same period worth Rs17 million. However, during the month of January 2020, the Directorate destroyed the confiscated goods in a ceremony on 23-01-2020.
In this regard, Range Office, Sukkur of the Directorate of Intelligence & Investigation-FBR (Customs) was also directed to carry out active surveillance on the movement of NCP vehicles and smuggling of contraband items within their jurisdiction to improve the information network.
In this regard, the Regional Directorate Hyderabad showed outstanding performance during the Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs) and surveillance duties and recovered foreign origin smuggled goods during the current month of February 2020, details thereof are as follows:
28200-kgs of betel nuts worth Rs25.38 million, 8000-kgs of poppy seeds, 3000-kgs of white cumin seeds, 1900-kgs of cashew nuts, 300-kgs of large cardamom, 4680-kgs of plastic ware and 5040-kgs plastic bags worth Rs50.84 million were recovered.
Similarly, the Range Office Sukkur also showed their efforts to curb the menace of smuggling and recovered the smuggled goods which included 52400-dandas of smuggled cigarettes, 1800 kgs of betel nuts and 1000 packets of Indian gutka.
The above tabulated recovery of Range Office Sukkur has shown significant increase in revenue which is 148% higher over the corresponding period of previous year excluding duty & taxes. In auction Range Office Sukkur also collected revenue of Rs8 million.
In another operation, the Hyderabad Directorate customs I&I officials also confiscated smuggled items including two consignments of Iranian origin tiles loaded on two Hino trucks bearing registration No TKW-162 and TAL -570 and recovered huge quantity of Iranian tiles worth million of rupees. The smuggled goods were being transported at Hino trucks from Quetta to Karachi during the said period.
The driver of the vehicle was asked to show the legal documents of the goods but he failed to do so. The officials confiscated the items considering them smuggled under the customs bylaws. All the goods have been shifted to state warehouse Hyderabad and Sukkur after making a seizure report.
Director Dr. Sadiqullah Khan appreciated the hard work and efforts of the ASO teams under command of Additional Director Syed Naeem Akhtar and Deputy Director Syed Muhammad Raza Naqvi and, superintendent, Nighat Zabin, Intelligence Officer Syed Shafique Ali, Irfan Ghani, Syed Zaigham Ali Shah, sepoyes, drivers and other staff encouraged them to enhance the efforts to arrest revenue loss, and discourage the smuggling of non-duty paid vehicles and contraband items.
Sadiqullal Khan that the Directorate has purposed to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to establish new Field Intelligence Unit at Jacobabad region for controlling illegal activities of smuggled goods and narcotics. Sadiqullah Khan said ‘we have very close working relationship with Sindh Rangers. We have launched several operations against smuggled goods and narcotics together”.
He said the routes from Jacobabad and Kashmore are commonly used for smuggled goods. Effective surveillance leads to making seizures at these routes resulted into considerable decrease in activity. The Directorate believes in concerted efforts to curb the menace of smuggling. Regarding the recent proposals, the Directorate is of the view that any strategy should involve capacity building, new recruitment, and logistic support. Border controls are pivotal to an anti-smuggling strategy. Once the smuggled goods enter the mainstream it is very difficult to apprehend because of multiple factors including public safety which makes policing an uphill task. Most of the people indulge as carriers who have no other opportunities of livelihood. The business community may also contribute by refraining from investing in smuggled goods. The cost of smuggling is considerably on higher side.
He said the magnitude of smuggling is detrimental to national economy. Awareness campaign, import facilitation, trade liberalization and efficient enforcement with modern technology over short term and long term can reduce and control smuggling and movement of contraband goods. An inter agencies debate with other stake holders must be initiated to devise an effective anti-smuggling strategy.