The smuggled consignment of ‘Gudang Garam’ cigarettes was to be sold in the grey market in Chennai.

Illegal consignment of cigarettes worth Rs 90 crore seized at Chennai portImage for representation
news Crime Sunday, February 04, 2018 - 09:44

Officials of the Chennai Seaport Customs seized smuggled Indonesian cigarettes worth Rs 9 crore on Saturday, in what is being reported as one of the biggest seizures of imported cigarettes in the city.

70.56 lakh Indonesian cigarette sticks that were to be sold in the grey market were seized. The Special Intelligence and Investigation Branch (SIIB) intercepted the consignment of 9 containers which were said to be carrying gypsum powder imported by M/S Kisan exports in Dindigul, according to reports.

“The consignment has originated from Iran and loaded at Jebel Ali Port, UAE,” Deccan Chronicle quoted a customs official as saying.

The official also told DC that about 490 brown cartons that were hidden with the gypsum packets were found.

On opening the cartons, 70.56 lakh ‘Gudang Garam’ cigarettes, worth Rs 9 crore were found. 

Reports suggest that the cigarette cartons were covered with a white sack, and 60 boxes of 20-pack cigarettes were packed into each carton. 

Cigarettes, imported legally, have a very high import duty as they have to comply with all the domestic laws. This makes smuggling them lucrative. The smuggled cigarettes were seized under the provisions of the 1962 Customs Act, according to The Hindu.

Additionally, the seized consignment was reported to have statutory warnings covering 50% of the box, instead of the mandated 85%, according to the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution Act, 2003 (COTPA 2003).

Further, crucial details such as the name and information about the manufacturer and importer, year of manufacturing, retail price and quantity of the product, which are required as per the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodity) Rules 2011, were also missing.