Friday, August 2, 2013

by this many husbands would be crorepathys ! Wrongly jailed 50 days, businessman seeks 50 lakh damages

Wrongly jailed for 50 days, Delhi businessman seeks Rs 50 lakh in damages

A Subramani, TNN | Aug 2, 2013, 04.55 AM

CHENNAI: After a wrongful arrest, 50 days in jail and his business in ruins, Delhi-based fabric importer AbhishekRajan is now knocking at the doors of the Madras high court for a compensation of 50 lakhfrom a host of central authorities, including the customs.

The reason for his imprisonment and ignominy was a wrong reportgiven by a central government laboratory on the fabric he imported, and the steep duty imposed him by the customs on the basis of the laboratory results.

Six months later, the Chennai-based laboratory admitted to its mistake, asked the customs to treat the report as 'cancelled' and then 'expressed regret'. But by then, Rajan had spent 50 days in jail.

It all started in July 2011 when Rajan imported 59,519 metres of a fabric material known as 'ramie' from China through the Chennai port. It was a woven dyed fabric requiring a duty of about 13 lakh. Customs authorities took a random sample and sent it to the Regional Laboratory Textile Committee, which functions under the Union ministry of textiles, for testing.

In a report dated August 9, 2011, the laboratory declared that the imported material was linen not ramie fabric as declared by Rajan. The customs swung into action. Citing a December 2009 order, they imposed an anti-dumping duty of 1.07 crore on Rajan and charged him with attempting to evade duty.

Rajan's repeated plea for re-testing the samples were rejected, and he was arrested on August 3, 2011. After the magistrate court and a sessions court rejected his bail pleas, the Madras high court granted him bail, but not before he spent 50 days in jail.

Once out of jail, Rajan again moved the high court and obtained a direction to the customs authorities to send the material for re-testing. This time, it was sent to a Mumbai-based laboratory. On February 9, 2012, the laboratory concluded that the imported material was indeed Ramie fabric.

More importantly, on March 14, 2012, the Chennai laboratory admitted to wrong identification of the fibre. It asked the customs to treat the earlier report as cancelled and expressed "regret".

Armed with the Mumbai lab's report and the Chennai lab's apology, Rajan has now approached the high court seeking 50 lakh compensation, as he had suffered imprisonment, business loss and loss of reputation. Justice K K Sasidharan, before whom the matter came up for hearing on July 29, has ordered notices to the customs and other central authorities.


July 25, 2011: Abhishek Rajan imports fabric materials from China and declares them as ramie fabrics.

August 9, 2011: Regional Lab Textile Committee in Chennai certifies the materials as linen, not Ramie.

August 12 and 23, 2011: Rajan seeks re-testing of fabric.

September 9, 2011: Both his requests are rejected by customs.

August 30, 2011: Rajan arrested for evasion of Rs 1.07 crore duty.

October 28, 2011: HC orders re-testing of the fabric.

February 9, 2012: Textile committee in Mumbai identifies the fabric as ramie.

March 14, 2012: Chennai lab admits to wrong report, recommends cancellation of earlier report


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