Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has dismissed criminal appeals filed by the Union Government challenging the order of a lower court acquitting 13 persons in three cases of seizure of gold biscuits of foreign origin by Central Excise officials 19 years ago.

In his order, Justice S.K. Krishnan said there was no infirmity in the acquittal orders of the I Additional Sessions Judge-cum-Chief Judicial Magistrate, Coimbatore.

The lower court had rightly held that the accused V.C.Soundararajan and others were entitled to the benefit of doubt.

It had dealt with the matter in a proper perspective and discussed each and every aspect in a well considered manner.

Mr. Justice Krishnan said he did not find any scope to interfere with the lower court’s orders.

Central Excise officials searched the house of an accused in Coimbatore and found a gunny bag containing white jackets with 50 chambers in each jacket. Each chamber was found to contain 24 gold biscuits of foreign origin. A search of a room in a marriage hall at Coimbatore yielded 50 gold biscuits.

Based on the material collected, the prosecution laid a charge sheet against the accused for offences punishable under the Gold Control Act, Customs Act and Foreign Exchange Regulation Act. Considering the evidence adduced by the prosecution, the lower court found the accused not guilty and acquitted them of all charges. Challenging the orders, the government preferred appeals.