Monday May 27, 2024

Stolen Bentley just one of many vehicles fraudulently imported, IO tells court

By Yousuf Katpar
October 08, 2022

The investigation officer (IO) has filed a ‘second interim charge-sheet’ in a case pertaining to the smuggling of Bentley Mulsanne said to be stolen from the United Kingdom and recovered from a house in Karachi’s Defence area.

IO Muddasir Ali submitted the charge sheet to Special Judge of Customs and Taxation Muhammad Saad Qureshi, listing two suspects Naveed Bilwani and Kamran Ansari as being in judicial custody while six others – Navaid Yamin, Muhammad Sohail, Syed Khurram Hussain Naqvi, Jameel Shafi, Muhammad Ismail Chandio and Zeeshan Saleem Shaikh as out on bail.

Ansari, director of M/s Focus Shipping Agencies, has been arrested recently. Customs officials had recovered the vehicle from a Defence Housing Authority house, said to be owned by Shafi, last month.

To get a clear picture of how the stolen vehicle was brought here, the IO said he wrote letters to various shipping agencies and freight forwarders and collected the relevant documents.

During their examination, he said it transpired that Ansari’s company was the original importer of the vehicle but he in connivance with suspect Yamin fraudulently prepared fake and forged documents, including bills of lading (B/Ls) to declare the embassy of Bulgaria as its importer instead to misuse diplomatic impunity.

He pointed out that no evidence had so far come on record to show that the embassy made payments either to the importer or the clearing agent for hiring their services. “No evidence regarding payment from the embassy could be retrieved so far which could substantiate that the vehicle belongs to Embassy of Bulgaria,” the charge sheet said.

It added that the evidence collected thus far proved that Yamin misused diplomatic exemptions and rights in connivance with the shipping firm and clearing agent. “The clearing agent without any payment by the embassy through an official channel cleared the vehicle in connivance with accused Navaid Yamin. The clearing agent received two B/Ls from M/s Focus Shipping Agency, one having description of a gasoline car while another as a diesel car,” the IO maintained.

During interrogation, he said Ansari confessed that Yamin was in contact with him and his former employee Fahad Ahmed and that on Yamin’s directions, the forged bills of lading were issued in the name of the embassy, on the basis of which an exemption certificate was obtained from the ministry of foreign affairs.

The IO said that during scrutiny of the data collected from the shipping company’s office, as many as 84 entries of vehicles shipped and cleared in the name of different embassies surfaced. Moreover, he said the WhatsApp communication between Yamin and Fahad, who has been named a prosecution witness in the case, showed that this was not just a case of a single vehicle smuggled through misuse of diplomatic exemptions but there were many such vehicles imported by Yamin.

In order to widen the scope of the ongoing investigation, the IO said letters had been sent to banks to acquire the transaction details of the accused persons and to the foreign affairs ministry and motor vehicle registration authority to obtain details of the vehicles cleared using diplomatic impunity and issued cover number plates.

The case is fixed for hearing on October 12 when the IO is required to file a final charge sheet in the case.