An auto-rickshaw was caught ferrying banned gutka products in Mira Road on Wednesday evening. Acting on a tip-off a team led by Police Inspector (Crime)- Sachin Kothmire under the supervision of Senior Police Inspector- Vijaysingh Baghal chased the suspected auto-rickshaw and intercepted it near the RBK school in the Kanakia area of Mira Road. Upon searching, the police found multiple gunny bags stashed with tobacco laced gutka sachets of various brands in the vehicle.
The market value of the seized consignment has been pegged at more than Rs. 70,000. While the auto-rickshaw was impounded, the police also seized cash amounting to Rs. 22,300 in the possession of the accused duo who have been booked under the relevant sections of the IPC and regulations of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations. However, the source and destination of the banned consignment are yet to be ascertained as suppliers and buyers who are the actual beneficiaries of the illegal trade are still at large.
The racket involved in the smuggling of banned products into Mumbai and Thane from neighbouring states continues unabated, even as officials from the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) continue to remain in deep slumber. Further investigations were underway. Despite the ban, gutkha is brazenly sold at almost every nook and cranny of the twin city. Traders and vendors are cashing in on the situation, by selling the prohibited products at a much higher price than the maximum retail price printed on the sachets.