Three people were arrested for allegedly transporting gutkha (chewing tobacco) worth Rs 70 lakh.
The gutkha sachets contained a banned cancer-causing ingredient, magnesium carbonate. Gutkha which contains this substance is banned in Maharashtra.
While the trio was arrested from Vashi on Friday, a few others who could be associated with them are absconding, the police said.
The police have also booked heads of three companies, which manufactured the gutkha.
“We got a tip-off that a few tempos parked under Vashi flyover were transporting gutkha from Bhiwandi to Mumbai,” said Senior Police Inspector Raosaheb Sardesai. “Of 10 tempos parked there, we found three had gutkha.”
“The consignment is worth Rs 70 lakh. The production took place in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh,” said Sardesai.
The consignment comprised products of three different brands — Goa Gutka, Shikhar Gutkha and Miraj Tobacco.
Sardesai added that these brands were handed over to the Food and Drug Administration Department (FDA) for testing.
“The gutkha samples given to us do contain magnesium carbonate,” said Assistant Commissioner of FDA S.K. Shere.
Sardesai said the accused planned to escape octroi payment of up to Rs 8 lakh.
“That is why the vehicles did not proceed from Bhiwandi to Mumbai via Thane as they would be hauled up at the Thane octroi post,” added Sardesai.