CBIC issues revised guidelines for reporting arrest, smuggling incidents

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The CBIC said the incident report should describe the modus operandi, including flight/ voyage/cruise number and the customs declaration document name.

The CBIC said the incident report should describe the modus operandi, including flight/ voyage/cruise number and the customs declaration document name.

The Central Board Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has revised guidelines for reporting of arrests, smuggling and commercial frauds by customs officers, as it looks to enhance risk-based targeting to nullify fraud attempts by syndicates.

In an instruction to field officers, the CBIC said that the arrest and incident reports of smuggling and commercial frauds are not being shared or are sporadically shared by the customs zones.

In some cases, the arrest report many times contains description/details that are insufficient as input for enhanced risk profiling.

As per the revised guidelines of CBIC, the Chief Commissioner/Director Generals of a customs zone would be required to send the arrest report through email to the CBIC within 24 hours of the arrest of an individual.

The arrest report would contain details of nationality and the details of offence committed by the individual who has been arrested. It would also contain details of seizure of goods by the authorities in quantity as well as in terms of market value.

In cases where arrests have not been made by the Customs officer, an incident report related to smuggling and commercial frauds has to be sent “immediately” to the CBIC by the jurisdictional Commissioner.

Observing that customs commissioners are “expected to be up to date” with respect to smuggling and commercial fraud cases under his/her jurisdiction, the CBIC said the incident report should describe the modus operandi, including flight/ voyage/cruise number and the customs declaration document name.

The report should also mention the country of origin of the goods and the duty involved.

“The collection and integration of a proper database is very much required for the purpose of prevention of smuggling through early detection of entities involved and by understanding their adjusting modus operandi.

“The expeditious updating of databases is imperative for achieving the optimum risk based targeting across zones. This agility nullifies tactics that the syndicates adopt across zones or modes of carriage or routes,” the CBIC instructions said.

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