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HC orders CBI probe into seizure of banned Chinese crackers

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The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court ordered a CBI investigation into the seizure of banned Chinese crackers in Sivakasi, the country’s fireworks hub in Virudhunagar District, in May this year.

Since the crackers had come all the way crossing states and reached interior Tamil Nadu, it needed a CBI probe, a division bench comprising Justices N. Kirubakaran and S. Vaidhyanathan held allowing a petition by one A. Muthukrishnan.

The Judges regretted Sivakasi police did not do a proper job when they seized the crackers, worth several lakhs of rupees, from a godown on May 14 last.

“They should have properly interrogated the owner of the godown. If they had investigated him properly, the origin of the entry of crackers could have been cracked,” the Judges said.

Earlier, Customs officials of Tuticorin Port had said they could scan only 20 containers a day since they had only one scanner machine and sought more equipment to check the import of banned Chinese crackers.

They were responding to query from the court regarding problem in checking containers loaded with Chinese crackers the import of which had been banned.

The officials said they were doing only random checking and needed more equipment to check the import of crackers being done under the “false declaration”.

The judges also asked the District Superintendent of Police Maheswaran, who was present in the court, as to why cases were registered under bailable sections. They pointed to the cases filed in Mumbai and Delhi regarding seizure of illegal Chinese crackers.

The petitioner also sought a direction to the Union Finance Secretary to order inspection of all ports across the country to seize illegally imported explosives.

Police submitted that they did not receive any complaint from the Revenue department on May 14, the day the SivakasiTehsildar seized the Chinese fireworks. Only on May 17, a complaint was received from Village Administrative Officer Raviraj.

The Deputy Controller of Explosives said information regarding complaint and seizure was not communicated by the revenue staff and police personnel.

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