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LAHORE: The customs department has failed to prove smuggling of a vehicle into Pakistan despite claiming that the owner had tampered with the chassis number of the vehicle, said sources.

According to details, the customs staff had stopped a coaster for want of its legal import documents. On demand, the driver failed to produce the same, therefore, the said vehicle was detained by the department for verification of its legal status.

It was followed by referring chassis number to PRAL with a request as to whether the vehicle under question has been legally imported or otherwise. No clue of the chassis number could be traced out in customs data base.

Accordingly, the issue was referred to the director forensic science laboratory for chemical analysis of the chassis number. The chemical examination revealed that some digits have been refitted with weld material and not decipherable. It added that the present digits are re-stamped in light of which, the detention was converted into seizure and an FIR was lodged against the owner.

The owner, on the other hand, maintained that he had produced his vehicle before the adjudicating officer under the umbrella of an amnesty scheme back in 2013 for physical inspection and payment of duty and taxes to the concerned authority.

The inspection report had declared that the chassis number of the vehicle is genuine and non-tampered, followed registration of the same with Motor Registration Authority for allotment of registration number to the vehicle.

The owner also denied any difference to the chassis number before and after chemical examination, saying that the competent authority had registered the vehicle after an NOC from a custom examiner. The relevant record of the department proved the stance of the owner, which led to shifting of the burden to prove the allegation towards the department, as the owner has successfully discharged his burden by producing motor vehicle registration document to the competent forum. The department had no option but to release the vehicle.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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