KOLKATA: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has seized illegally imported cigarettes worth Rs 1.62 crore from West Bengal and Assam and arrested three persons in this connection, a statement issued by the agency said on Wednesday.
The consignment was smuggled from Myanmar to India through the porous international border in Manipur, it said.
"DRI strikes at multiple locations to bust the syndicate engaged in smuggling of huge quantities of foreign cigarettes.
"A total of 16.27 lakh sticks (cigarettes) have been seized from three different places in Siliguri, Kolkata and Guwahati, cumulatively valued at Rs 1.62 crore.Three persons have been arrested," the statement said.
Acting on a tip-off, the DRI personnel had first intercepted a container truck on the outskirts of Siliguri on Sunday and recovered over 10.43 lakh cigarette sticks worth Rs 1.04 crore.
"The driver of seized vehicle, Shankar Yadav, was arrested under the provisions of the Customs Act, 1962.
He confessed that the cigarettes were actually smuggled into India from Myanmar through Indo-Myanmar border at Moreh in Manipur," the agency claimed.
Yadav, during interrogation, gave details of two more batches of cigarettes that have been dispatched to Kolkata and Guwahati, it said.
The seized cigarettes of brands such as 'Win', 'Paris', 'Ruili River', 'Esse Gold' and 'Gudang Garam' have their origin in countries like China, Indonesia, Korea, and Myanmar, the statement said.
In a follow-up action, the DRI sleuths seized over five lakh sticks of cigarettes valued at Rs 51.
22 lakh from a godown in the Burrabazar area of Kolkata on Monday.
Two persons - Rahul Singh and Vikash Kumar Jain - who were present at the godown during the raid have been arrested.
Both Singh and Jain admitted that the consignment recovered in Kolkata godown was illegally imported to India by the same syndicate which had sent the other batch to Siliguri, the agency claimed in its statement.
In a subsequent raid in Guwahati, more than 70,000 sticks of cigarettes valued at Rs 7.2 lakhs were seized, the statement said.
The DRI will be able to furnish more information about the syndicate after a thorough investigation, it added.