80L foreign cigarettes worth Rs 8 cr seized in Vijaywada

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New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) The Customs officials at Vijayawada have seized 80,40,000 Paris brand cigarettes packed in 804 cartons worth Rs 8 crore which were being transported in two seperate lorries.

This is the highest-ever seizure of smuggled foreign cigarettes reported by the Customs Commissionerate (Preventive), Vijaywada, since its formation in 2014.

An official on Tuesday said that after receiving specific information about the smuggling of foreign brand cigarettes into Vijayawada city in lorries, Customs officials were keeping surveillance.

On early Tuesday morning they intercepted a lorry with Tamil Nadu registration on suspicion at Kesarpalli along the Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam national highway (NH-16).

Upon receiving the intelligence on similar modus operandi, another team proceeded to Vijayawada-Hyderabad road and intercepted another lorry with Bihar registration.

On inspection, it was found that both vehicles were loaded each with 134 high-density polyethylene sacks containing smuggled goods stitched from the top.

Upon questioning, both the drivers told the officials that they left from Patna and were on their way to Vijayawada as per the instructions of a booking agent.

The drivers, however, said that they had no idea about what was being loaded into the vehicles.

The officials said that they seized 80,40,000 Paris brand cigarettes packed in 804 cartons under the Customs Act. The total value of the cigarettes seized is about Rs eight crore.

“Smuggling foreign cigarettes is a lucrative business to black marketeers to make a huge profit as they avoid customs duty. Smuggled cigarettes don’t have pictorial warnings on them, as is mandatory as per the provisions of Tobacco Products Act. The cigarettes don’t have manufacturing address on the packets and no bills of procuring or importing,” the official added.

–IANS

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