CHENNAI: A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officer, K A A Salaam, a DSP with the anti-corruption bureau, Nagpur, has been sentenced to two years in prison by a CBI special court for trying to help two air passengers in Chennai airport evade customs check and duty in 2011.
Salaam was nabbed by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the CBI officials on February 12 after he, using his official position, tried to influence customs officials to allow Vinod Kumar Gollapudi and Natha Venkata Vathsa Vardhan, who were carrying electronic goods worth Rs 8.62 lakh (according to the exchange rate then).
The duo, who arrived by Jet Airways Brussels-Chennai flight, did not declare the dutiable goods brought from abroad in the Customs Disembarkation/ Declaration cards and tried to avoid customs duty with the help of Salaam, who abused his position as a CBI officer.
Salam entered into the arrival hall using an entry pass he obtained using his influence, went near the conveyor belt and met Gollapudi and Natha Venkata Vathsa Vardhan. He collected their baggage from the conveyor belt. While walking towards the Green Channel along with the duo they were intercepted by a Joint Suprise Check (JSC) team comprising officials of the CBI and DRI, Chennai.
The CBI chargesheet stated that the goods were not for personal use but for sale. The fourth accused, SM Sadiq who had his own business in Chennai City Centre, and was present at the airport, was also arrested. The Anti Corruption Branch of CBI, Chennai, which probed the case found that the evasion would have meant a loss of Rs 2 lakh.
On completion of trial, Salaam, G Vinod Kumar, Natha Venkata Vathsa Vardhan were convicted and sentenced to two years’ rigorous imprisonment each. A fine of Rs 20,000 was slapped on KAA Salaam. The judge also imposed Rs 10,000 fine on Vinod Kumar Gollapudi and Natha Venkata Vathsa Vardhan respectively. Sadiq was acquitted of the charges.