One more held in Nhava Sheva areca nut smuggling case

NewsDrum Desk
New Update

Mumbai, Jun 8 (PTI) Special Intelligence and Investigation Branch (SIIB) officials at Jawaharlal Nehru Custom House, Nhava Sheva, have made another arrest in connection with the seizure of 189.6 tonnes of areca nut, valued at Rs 9.65 crore, smuggled under the guise of bitumen.

This is the second arrest in the case wherein the duty liability on the seized goods is Rs 11.63 crore, a Customs official said on Saturday.

According to the official, the goods were seized following several summons and searches, leading to the arrest of one of the directors of the Importer Exporter Code (IEC) holder.

In continuation of this investigation, customs have now arrested Mukesh Bhanushali from Ghatkopar in Mumbai, allegedly the beneficial owner of the areca nut smuggled from the UAE into India.

Multiple investigations are ongoing at various ports, including Mundra. The other director involved is currently absconding, the official said.

Areca nut attracts a high tariff value and a duty structure of 110 per cent, plus Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST), to protect Indian producers of areca nuts. To avoid these charges, unscrupulous importers resort to mis-declaration during illicit imports.

Despite India being the largest producer of areca nuts in the world, there is rampant smuggling of areca nuts to supply the illegal gutka industry in the country, the official added. PTI ZA NSK