Smuggled ‘Gudang Garam’ cigarettes worth 17 crore seized from Navi Mumbai
In one of the largest seizures of imported cigarettes in recent times, DRI officials seized 650 cartons of ‘Gudang Garam’ worth around Rs 17 crore from Navi Mumbai on Tuesday.
Acting on a tip-off, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) sleuths intercepted a 40-feet container at a godown in Taloja early morning on Tuesday.
The container, with a declared cargo of wash basins, had arrived from Dubai and was en route to inland container depot (ICD), Aurangabad.
Upon inspecting the contents of the container, officials found around 650 master cartons of Gudang Garam, a popular brand of clove cigarettes from Indonesia.
The seized consignment contained 93,60,000 cigarette sticks, valued at Rs 16.84 crores.
When officials raided the godown, they found that cigarette cartons were being replaced by wash basins. Following which, four persons were apprehended and booked under relevant sections of the Customs Act.
According to sources, one of the accused, an Indian national based out of Cyprus, is the suspected mastermind of the racket.
During investigation, DRI learned that the syndicate’s modus operandi involved shipping cigarettes from Dubai to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Navi Mumbai and later transporting them to Aurangabad by road.
However, before the consignment could be inspected by customs, the accused would replace the cigarettes with the declared cargo – locally sourced wash basins in this case – and the original seal would be switched with a duplicate one.
The accused had reportedly smuggled a smaller consignment earlier as a trial run. Since the trial run was successful, they attempted smuggling the larger consignment this time.