The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in Vijayawada intercepted a container truck in the city based on a tip-off and found a whopping 29,99,600 illegal cigarettes packed in 300 cardboard boxes.
Officials said that the cigarettes belonged to the 'PARIS' brand of Myanmar origin and did not have permission for sale in India.
In a press note, DRI officials said that the truck was travelling from New Delhi and was stationed at a goods transport agency godown at Ambapuram in Vijayawada on Saturday.
"On inspection, it was found that the vehicle was loaded with High-density polyethylene (HDPE) sacks containing goods stitched from the top. On questioning, the driver of the container truck informed that the said vehicle started from New Delhi with another driver and after reaching Gwalior he took over the vehicle and drove it to Vijayawada as per the instructions of his management," the press note said.
On search of the said lorry, the officers found and recovered 29,99,600 cigarettes. â€œThe smuggled cigarettes were concealed with stainless steelware used as a cover for concealment," it added.
Officials said that tobacco products must be sold, supplied or distributed in a package which should contain an appropriate pictorial warning that says 'Smoking kills' besides its nicotine and tar contents, which the 'PARIS' brand does not.
The DRI officials said that the cigarettes were being illegally imported into the country and were valued at Rs 2,99,96,000.
They were seized under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 read with The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.
The officers also seized the container truck valued at Rs 24,75,000 and stainless steel ware valued at Rs 1,26,000.
Further investigation is underway.