Hyderabad: Hyderabad Customs Department refused to divulge information about the seized gold and valuables to an RTI activist and wrote Nil in reply. The activist is now planning to file the first appeal. He alleged that there is no transparency and accountability in the Customs Department.
The RTI activist C Robin sought through his RTI application information about the gold and other valuables impounded between 2015 to 2020 by the customs officials and the number of cases filed by them against the violators. He submitted his RTI application to the Principle Commissioner Customs Department seeking this information. He also sought information about the general auction of the seized valuables in the custody of the Hyderabad Customs Department.
Robin said The officials of the Customs Department wrote the reply as Nil in their response to my query. About the reasons for submitting the RTI query, Robin said, Recently, 103 Kgs of impounded gold which was in the custody of the Chennai CBI officials was lost. The Tamilnadu High Court ordered the States Crime Branch, Crime Investigation Department (CB-CID) to conduct an inquiry in this matter. The inquiry was conducted by an official at the rank of Superintendent of Police (CB-CID).
In this background, Robin had filed his RTI query to seek information about the gold and valuables seized by the Hyderabad Customs Department. Customs Officials routinely announce the seizure of gold and other valuables at least once a week. Generally, the Customs officials sell the impounded gold and valuables through a general auction but they have not done so till now. After the RTI reply, my doubt has been strengthened. The Customs Department’s reply to my query amply indicates that there is no transparency or accountability in the Department and the possibility of corruption cannot be ruled out, Robin said.