THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For smugglers, gaming the system will soon become a thing of the past. The Central Board of Excise and Customs (anti-smuggling unit), which falls under the Union Finance Ministry's Department of Revenue, is preparing a nationwide database of Customs offences. Called DIGIT, the database will enable sleuths to track the history of all Customs offences and offenders while they criss-cross airports or seaports in the country.
Currently, enforcement agencies face limitations in tracking the history of an offender or a suspect when he/she is taken into custody. Once DIGIT is live, sleuths will be able to see the history of all the offenders in a jiffy and habitual offenders can be tracked more easily.
"DIGIT was introduced with the objective of creating a complete database of Customs offences," said Kochi Customs Commissioner Sumit Kumar. "Further, all show cause notices and adjudication orders issued in connection with Customs offences should be issued through DIGIT. Besides, the Board will monitor developments through DRI and the failure of zones and formations to complete the task of preparing the database and its updation within the stipulated time period or non-issuance of show cause notices and adjudication orders through DIGIT will be viewed seriously."
Earlier, all the formations in the department were directed to complete the data entry in DIGIT by March 31. However, some formations informed that the task of data entry of old cases will require more time. Keeping in mind the practical difficulties faced by the field formations, the Board has decided to extend the time limit by a further period of three months. The new deadline is July 31.
The database preparation of Customs offences of various formations such as Air Customs, DRI, Central Exercise, Customs Preventive Commissionerate is being done in Kerala. At present, officers are planning to enter all the details of offences dating back up to three years.
The database will act as a critical investigative tool when used for law enforcement purposes, especially in the rising number of cases of smuggling, including narcotics, bullion, wildlife trophies and parts, etc.
Once the database is formed, every single offence, show cause notice, adjudication order and details related to the offence will be recorded and these offences and the history of offenders can be tracked at the click of a button.
The database will be updated as and when new cases are registered with various enforcement formations across the country. In Kerala alone, more than 1,000 Customs offences are being registered every year.
* DIGIT will be a database of all Customs offences
* In the first phase, the data of Customs offences registered in the past three years will be uploaded
* Henceforth, all show cause notices and adjudication orders issued by various enforcement formations will be though DIGIT and it will be monitored by all agencies
* The database is expected to be completed by July 31
* In Kerala alone, around 200 gold smuggling cases are being registered every year