CHENNAI: In one of the large-scale seizures of contraband, the Chennai customs (sea port) has seized 70.56 lakh Indonesian cigarettes worth Rs 9 crore at Chennai Port.
Based on specific intelligence that cigarettes are being smuggled into India and sold in the grey market, Special Intelligence and Investigation Branch (SIIB) of Chennai customs, sea port had recently intercepted a consignment of nine containers declared as gypsum powder by the Dindigul based importer. “The consignment has originated from Iran and loaded at Jebel Ali Port, UAE,” a customs official said.
The official added that on examination, 490 brown cartons concealed along with Gypsum powder bags were found. “On opening the cartons 70.56 lakh of Gudang Garam international brand of Indonesia cigarettes were found. The cigarettes worth Rs 9 crore were seized,” the official said.
According to a custom’s press statement, the legal import of cigarettes suffers a very high rate of import duty. This makes smuggling of cigarettes lucrative. As per the COTPA 2003 Act, cigarette packets shall have health warning to cover 85 per cent of the principal display area of the package. The seized cigarette packets were found to be printed with a statutory warning in English and Arabic covering less than 50 per cent display area of the package, the statement explained.
Also, the name, address of the manufacturer /importer or packer, quantity of the product, manufacturing date and retail sales price are mandatory as per the law. However, those details were not found printed on the seized cigarette packets.
“Gudang Garam cigarettes are made up of crushed clove, clove oil and tobacco, which gives the cigarettes a unique clove flavour and are popular among youth. The smokers believe that they are smoking much safer cigarettes than Indian cigarettes,” a customs official said....