The department of customs, central excise and service tax imposed a penalty of over Rs 4 crore on three people for unauthorised import of cigarettes, worth Rs 9.27 crore, which Directorate of Revenue Intelligence intercepted at Pithampur in the fiscal 2015-16.
About 92.77 lakh cigarette sticks, which were to be sold in Indore and surrounding areas, were hidden beneath alloy wheels brought in containers.
“368 cartons of seized alloy wheels valued at Rs 7.76 lakh used to camouflage seized cigarettes are ordered for confiscation under Section 119 of Customs Act, 1962,” principal commissioner of customs, central excise and service department (Indore) SL Meena said in an adjudication order issued on September 28, a copy of which was received on Saturday evening.
The proceeds of the sale of the seized cigarettes will go to government account.
Meena imposed a penalty of Rs 1.50 crore on Delhi resident Joginder Singh for his “act of commission and omission, preparation of and usage of false/fabricating documents.”
Similarly, a penalty of Rs 1.50 crore was slapped on Shashi Ranjan Kumar on similar grounds. Sanjeet Kumar Sharma with business links across Madhya Pradesh was fined Rs 1.25 crore for “preparing false documents and his act that rendered the goods liable to confiscation.”
The central excise department and the directorate general of central excise intelligence had seized a huge volume of cigarette making raw material from local factories during searches carried out two years ago.
“This created shortfall in grey market. To meet rising demand, these cigarettes were imported illegally,” an excise department official said.