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SC : Absent importation of entire plant in unassembled form, exemption benefit unavailable

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SC denies exemption to imported parts/components of ‘hot mix plant’, intended for construction of road for National Highways Authority of India (NHA), under exemption Notification dated March 1, 2001, as complete plant in unassembled form not imported; Assessee’s reliance on Rule 2(a) of General Interpretative Notes misplaced, same has no application to exemption notification issued u/s 25 of Customs Act, since, test is not whether unassembled plant which is incomplete has essential character of complete plant, but, whether plant in its entirety is imported, albeit in unassembled form; Un-retracted statements made voluntarily by employees of company and NHAI indicates that, what is imported in “the basic character” of hot mix plant and not complete plant, since what is manufactured indigenously would only complete plant; Relies on SC ruling in Gulam Hussain Shaikh Chougule, and observes, it is a settled law that statements made to an Officer of Customs is admissible in evidence u/s 108 of Act and Court has to merely scrutinize whether same has been made voluntarily or otherwise; Dismisses assessee's appeal and upholds concurrent findings of Commissioner and CESTAT that both oral and documentary evidence lead to conclusion that imported goods not a 'hot mix plant', complete in itself  : SC
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