This empowers the FBR’s Directorate General of Intelligence and Investigation to follow it.
According to the details, the FBR is trying to approach Ms Ali and is expected to submit an application to this effect in the court of Customs and Taxation special judge in Rawalpindi,
The drafte of the application has been created and is probablely to be submitted in court within the next few days.
Ms Ali was arrested for violation of Section 2(s) of the Customs Act 1969 which is a ‘predicate offence’ under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) 2010. This offence is non-bailable and non-cognisable, which is why the FBR’s DG I&I is seeking authorization to look into it.
In a letter on April 3, the FBR’s DG I&I had written to the board’s chief of F&C. In it, the directorate said that the case registered against Ms Ali was neither registered under the apt law and nor have been handled by the competent investigating authority.
Officials quoted the letter as saying that the board has constituted an investigation and prosecution committee to probe the case lodged by the Islamabad Model Customs Collectorate (MCC) for violation of Section 2(s) of Customs Act, 1969, which deals with smuggling.
Under this law, smuggling is defined as “to bring into or take out of Pakistan, in breach of any prohibition or restriction for the time being in force, or evading payment of customs duties or taxes leviable”.
It is further pointed out in letter that it was essential to outline charges under the AMLA 2010 and that in such a case, the directorate is the only authorized law enforcement agency empowered to investigate such violations.
The accused has been arrested under Section 161 (9) of the Customs Act 1969, which stipulates that only an officer of the Customs department can hold an inquiry against the accused. It was also said in the letter that:
“[With] this legal requirement in place, if an officer of IRS holds investigation of the case which, inter alia, involves issuance of notices under Section 26 of Customs Act 1969 and filing of challan before the trial court,”.
FBR officials suppose that if charges under the AMLA are not filed against Ms Ali, there is a possibility that the prosecution’s entire case may not stand up to judicial scrutiny and ultimately, the accused and her accomplices will get the benefit of a legal technicality.
Since the FIR was filed under the Customs Act 1969, IRS officers are not officially capable to investigate this particular case, the officials quoted the letter as saying, adding that an IRS officer may be appointed as a focal person for sharing data and information among both agencies.
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