Finish probe against Saudi captain in fake currency case: HC

In a minor relief to a Saudi Arabian navy captain booked for carrying fake Indian currency, the Bombay High Court today directed the Additional Commissioner of Customs to complete probe against the officer and pass an appropriate order within two weeks.

A division bench of Justices A S Oka and S S Jadhav was hearing a petition filed by the naval captain Bandar Hurayb stating he has been wrongly prosecuted as he was unaware that the currency which he procured from an authorised forex agency outside the Jeddah Airport while leaving for India was fake. Hurayb landed in Mumbai on April 25 this year.

Advocate Rizwan Merchant, appearing for Hurayb, today told the court that his application waiver of show cause notice before the Additional Commissioner of Customs is pending since June. “He (Hurayb) came to India as a tourist and wants to go back to his country now,” he argued.

The bench after hearing the arguments directed the Additional Commissioner of Customs to pass appropriate orders on Hurayb’s application within two weeks. According to Hurayb’s petition, the authorities were not willing to discharge Hurayb from the case in spite of him having produced the receipt for the currency exchange. The petition mentions that Hurayb used the money to pay for a taxi at the airport. However, since the person on the counter didn’t have change, he went to a nearby forex counter, where the in-charge suspected the note to be fake. Hurayb then went to another man at a bank, who also suspected the note to be fake.

A Customs officer who overheard their conversation then demanded to search Hurayb and asked him about the number of notes he was carrying. Hurayb’s petition claims he voluntarily disclosed he was carrying Rs 45,500 in Rs 500 notes. All the notes found is his possession were later found to be fake.

Hurayb was then booked by Customs for carrying prohibited goods and produced in Metropolitan court the next day. On April 30, he was arrested by Sahar airport police for carrying fake Indian currency. However, he was granted bail on May 14 by a sessions court, where the judge observed that “prima facie any knowledge or reasonable belief cannot be attributed to Hurayb.”

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