In a major haul, customs officials here have seized foreign cigarettes worth Rs 7 crore allegedly smuggled by declaring the cargo as plywood sheets.
The seizure was made when Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) sleuths, on a tip-off, carried out the search of a container at a yard in New Manali near Chennai. It had been sent by a Singapore-based private firm to a local importer.
The cigarettes, kept concealed under plywood sheets, were seized under the provisions of Customs Act, 1962 and the officials have launched a hunt to nab the importer who is absconding, a DRI release said today.
The importer -- Thivya Agencies -- has declared the cargo as 'Malaysian core veneer' plywood sheets. However, DRI officials found 700 cartons containing seven lakh sticks of Indonesian cigarettes 'Djarum Black' kept concealed under the plywood sheets.
The cigarettes, worth Rs 7 crore, were systematically arranged in the cartons and did not contain the mandatory pictorial warning, it added.