Power to arrest [Section 104]:
To tackle the menace of smuggling and other serious economic offences including commercial frauds effectively, apart from penal action in departmental adjudication, the Customs Act, also provides for cr iminal prosecution action. The persons involved can be arrested and prosecuted in a Court of Law. Prosecution action can also be taken for providing false documents/ declarations to Customs and for obstructing Customs officers working intentionally.
A customs officer duly authorised by the Principal Commissioner/Commissioner can arrest any person, in India or within the Indian customs waters, who is guilty of an offence punishable under section 132 or section 133 or section 135 or section 135A or section 136 of the Customs Act [Section 104(1)].
Under the law, the person being arrested is entitled to be informed about the grounds for such arrest under the law. The said section also enjoins that provides that every person arrested under the Act has to be taken without unnecessary delay to the nearest Magistrate [Sub-section (2)].
Where an officer of customs has arrested any person under sub-section (1), he shall, for the purpose of releasing such person on bail or otherwise, have the same powers and be subject to the same provisions as the officer-in-charge of a police-station has and is subject to under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 [Sub-section (3)].