The Rabale MIDC police on Saturday arrested three people, including a teen, for allegedly smuggling gutkha worth Rs 14.5 lakh. Apart from the banned tobacco products, the cops also seized three vehicles totally worth Rs 16 lakh.
The trio have been identified as Abhishek Kumar Mangla Prasad Tiwari, 23, Ranjit Kumar Dinanath Rajbhar, 19, and Jay Pradip Bhanushali, 34. The first two accused are drivers from Uttar Pradesh, while the third accused is a Ghatkopar resident.
According to the Rabale MIDC police, Zone 1 deputy commissioner of police early this week received a tip-off about a suspicious truck parked in the MIDC area. “On August 11, there was information that gutkha, which is banned in Maharashtra, has been brought from Uttar Pradesh to be sold in Mumbai and its adjoining areas,” said the police official.
Based on the information, a police team carried out a search in the MIDC area on August 21 and found a red colour truck parked. There was also a pickup van parked next to it. When the police checked the van, three people were sitting inside it. Upon questioning, the trio attempted to mislead the cops by giving wrong information.
The van's checking led to the discovery of 15 sacks stuffed with gutkha, while another 20 sacks of tobacco products were found in the truck. “Gutkha worth Rs 14.7 lakh was seized from these two vehicles,” said the official, adding that they also seized three vehicles worth Rs 16 lakh.
A case has been registered against them under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code as well as the Food Safety and Standards Act.