Deputy Commissioner N.S. Prasanna Kumar led a team of Revenue and Police Department officials in a raid on wholesale outlets of paan masala and zarda (chewing tobacco) here after complaints surfaced pertaining to the sale of pan masala with nicotine content.
Even as the team led by Mr. Kumar swooped down on the wholesale outlets in Kirana Bazaar and other localities, panic-stricken dealers downed shutters to avert the seizure of products.
The Deputy Commissioner who raided several outlets accompanied with tahsildar Prakash Chincholikar and other officials said that he had received a spate of complaints about the sale of paan masalas laced with nicotine, which is prohibited in the State.
Paan masala sachets and zarda worth over Rs. 10 lakh were seized for suspected nicotine content.
The seized stocks were sealed and stored on the wholesale dealer’s premises, with the instruction that it should not be sold until laboratory tests were available. Samples were sent to the Health Department.
The wholesale traders expressed their shock over the raids and said that they were within the legal framework to market paan masala and zarda sachets. When the traders were asked about the complaints that paan masala and zarda were being sold together to customers, the traders said there was no force on the customers to buy both.