The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Mumbai zone on 30 October seized foreign-brand cigarettes smuggled into the state of Maharashtra. The package containing 70.39 lakh cigarettes was seized at Nhava Sheva in Navi Mumbai and is said to be worth Rs 14 crore.
The cigarettes had been clandestinely kept inside the scrap of motor vehicle engine parts along with other waste. The officials suspect a gang from Uttar Pradesh to be behind the smuggling of the contraband as the package was to be transported to Moradabad.
Tip-off received by DRI
The DRI officials had received a tip-off on a gang that had been smuggling cigarettes from Dubai to India. The alert officials soon received information that a live consignment was going to be transported through the Nhava Sheva port under the guise of aluminium powder.
The DRI officials intercepted the container and confiscated it under the Customs Act, 1962. A statement of the DRI read, “The cigarettes were found concealed cleverly under the aluminium scrap of motor vehicle engine parts and other waste.”
Foreign-brand cigarettes in high demand
An official privy to the case said that foreign-brand cigarettes are in high demand for parties that take place in metropolitan cities. He said that the suspects were planning to take the consignment to Delhi from UP.
He said that as there is strict vigilance at the Tughlakabad port in Delhi, the suspects made a plan to store the contraband in Uttar Pradesh, before taking it to the national capital. As there is strict vigilance at the Tughlakabad port (in Delhi), the syndicate had planned to store the consignment at a facility in Moradabad before transporting it to Delhi via road. The official added that the accused were planning to transport the cigarettes from Navi Mumbai to Uttar Pradesh through railways’ freight service.
This is the third major consignment of foreign cigarettes seized from the Nhava Sheva port by DRI Mumbai during the COVID-19 pandemic period.