The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has seized e-cigarette sticks worth Rs 48 crore from Gujarat’s Mundra Port, the largest private port of India located on the north shores of the Gulf of Kutch.
Based on a tip-off regarding the e-cigarettes being attempted to be smuggled by misdeclaration and concealment through Mundra Port, the container was identified and tracked and upon arrival at Mundra Port.
Investigation revealed that the goods were misdeclared as floor clean mops. During the examination of the container, one by one all the cartons inside the container were taken out and opened.
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It was found that apart from some cartons of floor clean mop, there were several boxes containing hand massagers, LCD writing pad 8.5 inches, and silicone pop-up toys, which were not declared.
After taking out around 60% of the container, some carton boxes which were being de-stuffed felt heavier than usual. There were 251 such cartons. Upon opening and counting, it was revealed that 250 cartons together contained 2 lakh pieces of e-cigarettes of 2,500 puff variant, while 1 carton contained 400 pieces of e-cigarettes of 5,000 puff variant, all of the Yuoto brand, made in China, of different flavours like milk coffee, mint ice, energy drink tea, coke ice, etc.
E-cigarettes and all other accompanying goods in the container have been accordingly seized under provisions of the Customs Act. The market value of seized e-cigarettes is pegged at Rs 48 crore. Further investigation is in progress.
This is the second such seizure by DRI in Gujarat in recent times. Earlier, on September 4, DRI had seized another consignment of e-cigarettes with a market value of Rs 20 crore by intercepting a truck near Surat.
India has banned the production, manufacturing, import and export, sale, distribution, and advertising related to e-cigarettes since 2019, citing concerns of potential smoking hazards in the younger population.
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