Courier company DHL Express India Pvt. Ltd. will not be able to book international consignments as the Karnataka High Court on Thursday refused to interfere with an order passed by the Bangalore Customs suspending its international courier operation licence.
Justice Jawad Rahim passed the order while rejecting the petition filed by DHL questioning the March 14 order of the Bangalore Customs.
The Commissioner of Customs had suspended the licence after 7 kg of gold was found concealed in a consignment of electronic goods, imported from Singapore, to be delivered to a Bangalore-based importer, Rotmac Distributors. The value of the seized gold is Rs. 2.14 crore.
This suspension order is applicable to DHL operations in Bangalore Customs jurisdiction.
The probe conducted after the seizure of six gold bars of 1 kg each and 10 gold bars of 100 grams each concealed in the imported seven desktop switches at the Kempegowda International Airport on March 11 had also revealed that the “address provided by Rotmac was non-existent”.
Claiming that it cannot be held responsible for misdoing, if any, by the consignors or consignees, DHL argued that sudden suspension of licence would affect a large number of customers, including students who send urgent documents such as applications seeking admission to various universities abroad, and delivery of goods such as lifesaving medicines, etc.
Advocate P.S. Dinesh Kumar, however, said that during preliminary inquiry it was found that the consignor, Electronics Bazaar, Singapore, had sent 17 consignments through DHL via Kempegowda International Airport. Earlier, the consignments were delivered despite non-existent address, he said.
Mr. Kumar said the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence was investigating further as the issue was a serious one as the goods were sent from “different names but from the same address in Singapore” and delivered to “different firms at a non-existent address in Bangalore”. Counsel also said that DHL appears to have not carried out mandatory checks as prescribed in the regulations.
As the Customs agreed to permit DHL to deliver 2,191 consignments lying at the Kempegowda International Airport subject to verification, Mr. Justice Rahim rejected the petition stating that DHL could appeal against the suspension before the Chief Commissioner.