Gutkha worth Rs 62 lakh seized in Kashimira

Bhayandar: In a prize catch for the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) officials, a huge consignment of gutkha worth more than Rs 62 lakh was seized from three parked trucks in Kashimira on Friday.

Two men, who have been identified as Tuntun Rampravesh Singh (32) and Himmat Singh Moukh Singh (34), both residents of Nallasopara, were taken into custody.

However, their other accomplices managed to evade the dragnet and are still at large. Based on a specific tip-off from FDA’s intelligence wing, a local team led by Food Safety officer Deepali Totre, Arvind Khadke and other senior officials spotted the suspicious looking trucks near a petrol pump in the Kajupada area of Kashimira.

All the vehicles were found to be carrying hundreds of gunny bags stashed with sachets of tobacco laced and other banned products. While the market value of the seized consignment has been pegged at Rs 62.30 lakh, a case under the relevant sections of IPC and regulations of the Food

Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations has been registered at the Kashimira police station against six people, including the truck owner and the handlers of the consignment. It may be recalled that the Thane police had seized a consignment of gutkha worth Rs 99 lakh in Mira Road in May 2018.

Although, the authorities have been seizing gutkha and scented tobacco products worth lakhs of rupees in frequently conducted raids, the racket involved in smuggling of banned products into Mumbai and Thane from neighboring states like Gujarat continues unabated. Maharashtra became the first state to ban gutkha in July 2012.

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