Mumbai: Customs swoops down on consignment of drones, e-cigs

Mumbai: Customs swoops down on consignment of drones, e-cigs

Imported e-cigarettes worth Rs3.6 crore and 1792 drones seized; toys and balloons violating BIS quality standards also seized

Somendra SharmaUpdated: Saturday, May 27, 2023, 01:07 AM IST
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Mumbai: Customs swoops down on consignment of drones, e-cigs | Representative Image/ Pixabay

Mumbai: The Special Investigation and Intelligence Branch (SIIB, Import) of the Nhava Sheva Customs on May 25 intercepted two containers with e-cigarettes worth Rs3.6 crore and 1,792 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. The import of e-cigarettes and drones is prohibited, Customs officials said on Friday. In addition, 22,500 pieces of toys and 59 bags of latex balloons, both not meeting the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) quality standards were also seized.

Containers declared as plastic hooks, razors and toothbrushes

Continuing the drive against smuggling through trade cargo, the SIIB (I), Nhava Sheva, intercepted the containers that were declared as plastic hooks, razors and toothbrushes. The examination of the first container resulted in the recovery of 20,920 pieces of high-end e-cigarettes. 
An official said that import of e-cigarettes is prohibited under the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement) Act, 2019. “We are probing who had ordered such a huge consignmentand whether the consignee had imported e-cigarettes illegally in the past,” an official said.

From the second container, 1,792 pieces of drones were seized and officials are probing the source and to whom the delivery was to be made. The drone import policy was notified on February 9, 2022, banning import of foreign drones and components so as to promote domestic manufacturing. 

Foreign drones import banned since last month

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Commerce and Industry Ministry issued a notification banning the import of foreign drones last month. As per the policy, it’s prohibited to import drones in completely built-up, completely knocked down and semi-knocked down forms; exceptions are provided for research and development, defence and security purposes subject to import authorisation issued by the DGFT in consultation with the ministries concerned, an official said.
Earlier on May 12, based on intelligence, SIIB (I) also intercepted a 40ft container with declared items as water bottles, magnetic buttons and belt buckles with 45,686 concealed units of e-cigarettes.

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