KARACHI: An oil tanker en route from Karachi to Lahore had been seized in Hyderabad for over a month by Customs Intelligence Director Saleem Memon despite having the required documents who have allegedly demanded hefty amounts to release the vehicle.
The oil tanker (TUC-503), carrying 25,000 litres high-speed diesel (HSD), even had documents from the oil refinery and the laboratory of the Hydro Development Institute of Pakistan (HDIP). The tanker was stopped near Badin and the driving staff was held hostage after which the vehicle was parked in a warehouse.
According to documents, the tanker from ENAR Petroleum Refining Facility (EPRF-II) Mangophir left Karachi on Monday, October 14, for Lahore. Without checking and verifying the documents, the vehicle and staff was brought to a warehouse Customs Intelligence Hyderabad and was confiscated.
A sum of Rs40,000 was taken from the owners and a sample was sent to HDIP laboratory Karachi on 15th Oct. The report was released on Oct 20 which did not report any mixture. However, the customs officers refused to acknowledge the report and issued an order for re-verification from the oil refinery.
The Investigation Officer of Customs Intelligence Hyderabad came to Karachi, where information was obtained from ENAR Petroleum Refining Facility where he was provided with vehicle and diesel papers.
Despite being provided the documents, Director Saleem Memon again ordered all documents be sent by courier. ENAR Petroleum obliged and sent the documents by courier which were received by the Customs Intelligence Officer in Hyderabad on November 9.
Director Saleem Memon refused to accept the papers and is demanding more money by declaring the papers of the oil refinery as fake. It has been more than a month since the vehicle was parked in Hyderabad, causing immense loss to the tanker’s oil.
The custom officers have started harassing the tanker’s owners by calling them for hours at various places including Hyderabad. Director Saleem Memon has alleged demanding a sum of Rs1 million to release the vehicle, or else he threatened will be seized forever.
It should be noted that despite the passage of more than a month, the Customs officer has not informed the vehicle’s owners which documents are incomplete and should be provided. The risk is also at risk of damage if it remains under custody.
In this regard, the owner of the vehicle Waseem Khan says that the customs intelligence officer stopped their vehicle due to personal resentment and caused huge losses. He said the custom officers will responsible for any damage to the vehicle. He vowed to approach the court and provide evidence of bribery by custom officers.
Chairman Oil Tankers Owners Association Mir Shams Shahwani said they will protest against the illegal activities of Customs Intelligence. He said the tanker’s owners are being harassed by customs officers. He threatened to halt all oil tankers if no action is taken within 72 hours.
Shahwani said that he will approach higher authorities to take immediate action against the corruption of Director Customs Intelligence Saleem Memon. He appealed for immediately releasing the seized oil or else the supply will be cut off.