In a prize catch for the Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar (MBVV) police commisionerate, a huge consignment of gutkha worth more than Rs.70 lakh was seized in Kashimira on Tuesday evening. The action was the result of a joint teamwork by officials from MBVV’s cyber cell and central crime branch unit. Based on a specific tip-off, received by API-Pravin Swami (cyber cell) a team led by Senior Police Inspector- Jitendra Vankoti under the instructions of DCP (crime)- Dr. Mahesh Patil laid a trap and intercepted a truck near Hotel Fountain on the highway in Kashimira.
Upon checking, the vehicle was found to be carrying hundreds of gunny bags stashed with sachets of tobacco laced and other banned products. The market value of the seized consignment has been pegged at more than Rs. 70.48 lakh. While a case under the relevant sections of the IPC and regulations of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations has been registered against one person at the Kashimira police station, the actual beneficiaries including the consignor and consignee were still at large till reports last came in.
The truck was also impounded. The police claimed that investigations were on to ascertain the source and destination of the consignment. The entire state is on battle mode to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus, however the notorious guthka mafia seems to have continued with their money minting exercise by brazenly exploiting the rising demand for the banned substances which is available in every nook and cranny of the twin-city, even as FDA remains a mute spectator to the illegalities.
Despite a series of actions, the racket involving smuggling of banned tobacco products into Mumbai and Thane from neighboring states like Gujarat continues unabated.