Impersonation in E-Filing of Customs

The following Public Notice was issued by the Commissioner of Customs (Import) Jawaharlal Nehru Custom House on 3rd February 2010.

[Customs Public Notice No. 10 dated 3rd February 2010]

Sub: Enquiry of the Status of Bills of Entry/ Shipping Bills through auto e-mail Responsibility of CHA/importer/exporter.

The attention of all exporters, importers, Custom House Agents and members of Trade and all other concerned is invited to Facility Notice No.41/2009 dated 11.07.2009 vide which e-mail based enquiry facility for ascertaining the status of the following was conveyed:

(i) All categories of Bills of Entry (B/E);

(ii) IGM details (IGM);

(iii) All categories of shipping Bills (S/B) i.e :

(1) Transmission status of DEPB S/Bills to DGFT;

(2) Status of Drawback claims;

(3) Drawback claims passed during last 6 months; and

(4) Status of Shipping Bill.

2. It was also conveyed that such details of B/E or S/B filed would be available either to a specific B/E or S/B based on its number or in respect to all such documents filed, by a CHA / importer/exporter. The details of all B/E or S/B filed by a CHA could be obtained by providing their respective PAN based CHA License number (CHA Number). Similar details of an Exporter / Importer can be obtained by providing their respective IEC code (IEC Number) in the subject of the e-mail to be sent as detailed in the said Facility Notice No.41/2009 dt:11.07.2009.

3. In the said Facility Notice dtd: 11.07.2009, the CHAs/importers/exporters were advised to convey the details of the B/E or S/B which were not filed by them, immediately on receipt of such details against their respective CHA/IEC number, to facilitate the department in initiating suitable action in respect of such documents filed by unscrupulous elements. They were also requested to undertake such exercises periodically to see that their names are not misused or impersonated by others for violating laws of the land.

4. The feedback received from one of the CHA, conveying that they had not filed a S/B, has resulted in booking of a major case of illegal export of prohibited goods. But it is not certain whether all the CHAs are verifying such details by sending the necessary e-mail to know the details of S/Bs and Bs/E, to detect the possible proxy documents in the EDI system, which may have a bearing not only on the revenue but also the security. In fact, this matter was discussed in the PTFC meeting held on 14.01.2010. During the discussion, the attention of the representative of the CHAs/importers/exporters was drawn to the facility to obtain the status of Bs/E / S/Bs by sending an e-mail with specified subject. It was informed that in case of any discrepancy or if any B/E or S/B which was not filed by the CHAs/importers/exporters, has been registered in his/their name, he/they may immediately report the same to the Customs. It is, therefore, imperative that CHA/importers/exporters takes up those cases on day to day basis and report back to Customs in case of any discrepancy.

5. The trade representatives informed that there are instances when Bs/E / S/Bs were filed in the name of importer / exporter by the CHA on the basis of the records given to them by their respective clients, but later the person in whose name the B/E or S/B has been filed had claimed that the actual IEC holder did not file such B/E / S/B. Hence the representatives of the trade suggested that Customs may develop a system whereby the genuineness of the exporter/importer can be ascertained by sending e-mail and getting confirmation thereon.

6. Considering the various suggestions, pending any further up gradation of the EDI-facility, including the proposed revision of the EDI-software by the DG-Systems and the facility already in place, it is conveyed that it would be the responsibility of the CHAs/importers/exporters to verify both the above aspects on daily basis and in case they fail to do so, the concerned CHA/importer/exporter will be precluded from pleading ignorance at the time of subsequent investigation, if any.

7. The contents of this notice may please be brought to the knowledge of all the CHAs/importers/exporters and representatives.

F.No. EDI-24/2007 JNCH