The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized smuggled foreign cigarettes worth Rs 4.75 crore near Nhava Sheva Port.
“Specific intelligence was received by officers of DRI, Mumbai that a large quantity of cigarettes of foreign origin were being attempted to be smuggled into India in an Import consignment arriving from Dubai. Hence, the DRI officers identified the suspected consignment and intercepted it at a container freight station near Nhava Sheva Port,” said a senior officer.
Examination of the said import consignment was done under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 which resulted in the recovery of cigarettes of foreign origin. Total 21,60,000 cigarette sticks of smuggled cigarettes of Gudang Garam valued at Rs. 4,75,20,000 were seized. Declared cargo of wallets was kept in front-side of the container so as to conceal the cigarettes.
According to DRI, the investigation revealed that the aforesaid consignment was imported using Importer Exporter Code (IEC) which has been obtained by misusing KYC documents.
Even during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a huge surge in cases of cigarette smuggling was noticed. This seizure affected by DRI Mumbai was fifth in a series of major seizures of cigarettes smuggled into India in the last two months based upon the intelligence from DRI, Mumbai.
These seizures cover three in Jhattipur near Panipat and two in JNPT Nhava Sheva.
“In these five cases, almost two crore cigarettes and cigars of foreign origin, worth Rs 30 crores have been seized, manifesting DRI’s continued fight against smuggling of illicit tobacco products,” the officer said, adding that though no arrest has been made so far, the agency has some leads about the persons involved in this smuggling racket.
Cigarette smuggling is a serious offence as it causes huge loss of revenue for the Government, besides defeating the social objective of giving prior warning to the consumers as smuggled cigarettes do not carry the mandatory statutory warning on the packs, thereby posing health hazard, the agency stated.