Inter-State arecanut shipment racket at KIA uncovered

Published - December 02, 2023 09:08 pm IST - Bengaluru

Officials of the Commercial Tax Department uncovered an inter-State arecanut shipment racket at Kempegowda International Airport and seized 460 bags weighing 11,500 kg being shipped to Bengaluru from north eastern States.

Officers from the Vigilance wing of the State Commercial Taxes Department of Karnataka detained shipments of 460 bags containing 11,500 kg of arecanut at the cargo erminal of KIA.

C. Shikha, Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, said these consignments lacked the requisite valid documents, raising concerns about their origin and legality.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the arecanut shipments originated from the northeast part of the country, specifically from Assam and Manipur, with a destination marked for Madhya Pradesh and local unregistered persons in Bengaluru.

The airway bills contained the names of individuals and their mobile numbers. They are suspected to have been used as conduits by certain traders who are at large on both sides. The authorities have initiated a comprehensive investigation in coordination with local GST authorities in Assam, Manipur and Madhya Pradesh.

The ongoing investigation has raised suspicions of potential smuggling activities involving arecanut from Myanmar. “It is understood that the smuggled low-quality arecanut, available at a lower price, is mixed with locally sourced arecanut in Karnataka by local traders. The arecanuts were billed at ₹25 to ₹50 per kg, whereas the market rate of low to medium quality is approximately ₹250 to ₹300 per kg,” officials said.

In another incident related to arecanut, the vigilance wing of the Commercial Taxes Department noticed the recycling of e-way bills and detained the goods and conveyance. The tax evaders resorted to misrepresenting the facts that the detained goods belong to the farmers and gave false statements.

“The tax evaders have acknowledged their wrongdoing and discharged the fine and penalty of ₹24.26 lakh as per the KGST Act. In light of this, the Department urges farmers to utilize the “Citizen E-way Bill”, an option available in the e-way bill portal or approach the nearest office or helpdesk for assistance,” said a release.

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