A SPECIAL court on Thursday convicted a former superintendent of Customs and his wife for corruption. Benudhar Samal, who was posted as superintendent of Customs at Nhava Sheva in Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, was sentenced to three years in jail, while his wife, Jyotsnamayee, was sentenced to two years imprisonment after the court found them guilty under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The two were also fined a total of Rs 80,000 and properties to the tune of Rs 87.82 lakh, which were alleged to be proceeds of their disproportionate assets, were ordered to be forfeited to the state government. The two sought a stay on the sentence for filing an appeal before the Bombay High Court, which was granted.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had in 2009 conducted searches at the residential premises of Samal and claimed to recover Rs 56.06 lakh. It was claimed that Samal’s assets were disproportionate to his known source of income as a customs officer from 2004-2010, to the tune Rs 91 lakh. During the trial, Samal had sought discharge from the case claiming that the searches conducted by DRI officials were illegal. His wife, who was booked for aiding and abetting Samal, had claimed that she had been falsely implicated and that the amount alleged to be disproportionate assets included the cost of a bungalow, gold jewellery and accounts that belonged to her for which she had paid regular income tax returns. The
DRI, however, opposed the contention claiming her involvement.
The court had in 2013 rejected the discharge applications of both. At the time of the searches in 2009, the DRI had claimed that the assets were amassed through wrongly declaring garment consignments arriving at the port to allow them duty drawbacks.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines