Customs officials seized smuggled foreign cigarettes worth Rs 8 crore in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada on Monday. The Paris brand foreign cigarettes were concealed and carried in two lorries.
After receiving information about the smuggling, suspecting customs officials intercepted a lorry with a Tamil Nadu registration at Kesarpalli, on the Vijayawada –Visakhapatnam National Highway (NH-16). A second lorry with a Bihar registration was intercepted on the Vijayawada-Hyderabad road.
On inspecting the vehicles, 134 packed high-density polyethylene (HDPE) sacks containing the smuggled goods were found. The 80,40,000 Paris brand cigarettes packed in 804 cartons are valued at 8 crore.
The drivers stated that they loaded the vehicles in Patna and drove to Vijayawada as per the instructions of their booking agent. They also revealed that they are not aware of the contents of the deliveries.
Smuggling foreign cigarettes is a lucrative business for black marketeers as they make a huge profit by avoiding customs duty.
The smuggled cigarettes don’t have the mandatory pictorial warnings on them as is required by provisions of the Tobacco Products Act, 2003. The cigarettes don’t have a manufacturing address on the packets and no bills of procuring or importing. Further investigation is on.
This is the highest-ever seizure of Smuggled foreign cigarettes reported by the Customs Commissionerate (Preventive), Vijayawada since its formation in 2014.