The entire state stares at a second wave of the deadly pandemic, however the notorious guthka mafia seems to have continued with their money minting exercise by brazenly exploiting the rising demand for the banned substances in the twin-city. The crime branch (unit I) of the Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar (MBVV) police commissionerate seized consignments of guthka worth more than Rs. 15 lakh in two different raids conducted in Bhayandar (west). In the first raid, police personnel Pushpendra Thapa received information in context to sale of the banned products from a grocery store in Bhayandar (west).
After confirmation, the police team swooped down on the establishment identified as Jai Jalaram General Stores and recovered several gunny bags stashed with gutkha and scented tobacco products worth Rs.9.88 lakh. The second raid was conducted at a tenement in Ganesh Dewal Nagar- a sprawling slum cluster in Bhayandar. Here, the police team led by Police Inspector- Aviraj Kurhade and API Vilas Kute seized the banned consignment worth more than Rs. 5.81 lakh. The total value of the seized consignment is pegged at Rs. 15.69 lakh.
Two people have been arrested and booked under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and regulations of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations. The police have been seizing gutkha and scented tobacco products worth lakhs of rupees in frequently conducted raids. However the racket of smuggling of banned products into Maharashtra from neighbouring states continues unabated, reportedly due to the alleged involvement of a strong syndicate of the notorious guthka mafia who operated a well-oiled distribution network on the outskirts of the twin-city.
It has been alleged that small time peddlers and peddlers land into cop net even as the source of consignment mostly remains a mystery. Further investigations were underway.