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Mittal Impex vs. Principal Commissioner, Customs - (Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal) (31 Mar 2022)

Confession though retracted is an admission and binds the Petitioner



Present appeal has been filled against the Order-in- Original adjudicating authority vide which the request for cross examination of panch-witnesses and of departmental officers with respect to Show Cause Notice and corrigendum to Show Cause Notice has been rejected.

The right to cross examination is considered as a principle of natural justice as it corresponds to foremost principle of natural justice what is commonly known as 'audi alteram partem' and the absence thereof may adversely affect the party.

Nothing cogent has been brought in reply to the Show Cause Notice to prima facie falsify the allegation of show cause notice or even to make the case of any prejudice or to establish that some prejudice has been caused to the Appellant by procedure followed. There is no case of the Appellant that his statement was his involuntary statement given in coercion. No retraction is at all apparent on record. The Apex Court in the case of Surjeet Singh Chhabra vs Union of India has held that, confession though retracted is an admission and binds the Petitioner. The Customs Officer is not a police officer. Hence, the confession made to them is an admissible evidence, hence there will be no need to permit the cross examination of the panch witnesses.

The Adjudicating Authority has committed no error while denying the opportunity of cross examination of investigating officers and the panch witnesses. As a result, the order under challenge is upheld. Appeal dismissed.


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