Smuggled foreign cigarettes seized in Hyderabad, five held

The seized foreign cigarettes.

The seized foreign cigarettes.  

Smuggled foreign cigarettes valued at ₹ 1.03 crore were seized by Hyderabad city police on Friday. The contraband was concealed in 503 cartons.

Acting on a tip-off, sleuths of the Commissioner’s Task Force (North Zone) intercepted a goods vehicle near Rishab Agency in Siddiamber Bazar and found huge quantities of foreign cigarettes, which were smuggled into the city.

The team led by inspector K Nageswar Rao apprehended five persons — Vipul Ranka, Jagadish Kumar, Doongarchand Shrishrimal, Pavan Kumar Perthani and M.A Haneef —, who were illegally importing the cigarettes from Delhi via Sarna Transport without valid invoice, delivery challan or even GST invoice. They were selling the contraband to pan shops, kirana shops and petty vendors in around Hyderabad.

Police said Vipul Ranka, hailing from Rajasthan, had migrated to Hyderabad a few years ago. He ran tailoring and Agarbatti material business at Begum Bazaar and was illegally procuring and selling foreign cigarettes.

According to officials, the seized cigarettes were being smuggled from countries like China, Malaysia, Switzerland and South Korea to evade taxes and sell them in Delhi, Hyderabad and other major cities in the subcontinent. “When compared to Indian brands, consumers prefer to buy such cigarettes due to international quality,” the investigators said.

The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) makes it mandatory to have a graphic health warning on the 85% space of the cigarette packet and the Union government levies heavy taxes on tobacco products to discourage their sale. But these foreign cigarettes had no health warning on the packets.

The accused and the seized material were handed over to Shahinayathgunj police.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 11:35:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/smuggled-foreign-cigarettes-seized-in-hyderabad-five-held/article31982675.ece

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