Sleuths of the Commissioner's Task Force, Central Zone, along with the local police on Thursday busted a racket that was illegally procuring and selling banned 'Paris' brand cigarettes and arrested two people. A raid was conducted at a godown in Begum Bazar and the two accused were identified as Nithin and Vipul. The police said that they seized 1,08,000 packets of the banned cigarette with each packet contains 20 cigarettes, totally worth about Rs 6,48,000, besides two cell phones.
"The accused Nithin Ranka and Vipul Ranka are running a general store business and supplying tailoring material and other home appliances at Feelkahana, Hyderabad. They were fraudulently procuring local made 'Paris' cigarettes to avoid customs duty and also to avoid GST which is causing wrongful loss to government and also cheating innocent people, which is an act which could endanger human life. The material is being received from Delhi, UP and Kolkata via railway transport and the same was being supplied to local traders in Hyderabad," the police said in a press note.
The investigation officials also said that the accused were procuring each packet for Rs 6 and supplying it to local traders for Rs 20, which in turn would be sold to customers for Rs 30.
"Paris cigarettes are suspected to be coming from Bangladesh via Kolkata on train. Smuggling foreign cigarettes is lucrative business to black marketers to make a huge profit as they avoid customs duty. Smuggled cigarettes donâ€™t have pictorial warnings on them, as it is a mandatory as per the provisions of Sec.20(2) of Cigarette and Other Tobacco Product Act 2003. The cigarettes donâ€™t have manufacturing address on the packets and no bills of procuring or importing. The margin involved in smuggling of cigarettes is almost 100 percent," the police said.
"Paris brand is a cheap cigarette and which is available for low price. The increase of smuggling of cigarettes into the country is not only robbing the government of taxes, but is also funding hawala rackets and effecting tobacco farmers in the country. We are suspecting several other racketeers operating from Begum Bazar and other areas in Hyderabad. The arrested accused persons along with seized material were handed over the Begumbazar Police Station in Hyderabad for further investigation," officials added.