Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry’s (FICCI) arm on Monday said the several cases of seizures of smuggled imported cigarettes carried out by enforcement agencies that have been reported in the last few months, indicate a spike in cigarette smuggling during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
FICCI CASCADE (Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy), said the seizure of foreign brand cigarettes worth Rs 11.88 crore from a container at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Navi Mumbai on June 12, by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is one of the biggest seizures since lockdown.
“The trend is nationwide, with seizures intercepted via road transport, in cargo and passenger luggage,” FICCI CASCADE said in a statement.
Expressing concern FICCI CASCADE Chairman Anil Rajput said, “cigarette smuggling is a big racket across the globe and India continues to remain a hotbed for this menace. Even as the country is grappling with the coronavirus crisis, the seizures of such goods remain high.”
Citing a recent study, FICCI CASCADE said while cigarette smuggling has now become highly lucrative activity, it has caused 3.34 lakh job losses and urged for more active vigilance.