The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has seized smuggled foreign-origin cigarettes worth Rs 17 crore at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), and four persons have been held in this connection, an official said Thursday.
Acting on a tip-off, a team of DRI's Mumbai unit intercepted a 40-feet container from Dubai, which was on its way to an Inland Container Depot (ICD) at a godown in Navi Mumbai on Tuesday, the official said.
"Around 650 master cartons containing the cigarettes were found kept in the container. The cigarettes were being replaced with the declared cargo of wash basins," he added.
The replacement cargo was also found stored at the godown, where the wash basins were marked with 'Made in China', he said.
"During the investigation, it came to light that these wash basins were domestically procured from a shop in Navi Mumbai and the 'Made in China' markings were intended to mislead the Customs officials into thinking that the goods was imported," he said.
The syndicate had adopted a modus operandi as per which they would replace the container with declared cargo on the way to the ICD by breaking open the seal and later fixing it with a duplicate seal, the official said.
"The mastermind, an Indian national based out of Cyprus has been apprehended and three others have been arrested in this connection," the official said, adding that further investigation was on.
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