More than 70 lakh foreign cigarettes worth Rs 9 crore were seized at the Chennai Port Trust here, recently. Acting on a tip-off, the Special Intelligence and Investigation Branch, Chennai Customs department intercepted a consignment of nine containers at the port here which were declared as "gypsum powder", an official release said.
The declared goods were allegedly imported by a Dindigul-based firm from Iran.
Initial investigations revealed that 490 brown cartons were concealed along with gypsum powder bags in the containers.
On opening the cartons, officials found it contained 60 boxes of cigarettes, each containing 20 units under the brand 'Gudang Garam International Indonesia".
A total of 70.56 lakh cigarette sticks, approximately valued at Rs nine crore, were seized under the provisions of Customs Act 1962, the release said.
According to Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodity) rules 2011, name and address of the manufacturer or importer, the quantity of the product, month and year of manufacturing are mandatory.
However, the seized cigarette packets did not have any such details on the cover, it said.
The "Gudang Garam" brand of cigarettes are made up of crushed clove, clove oil and tobacco which gives the cigarettes a clove flavour and are popular among the youth.
Since the mandated pictorial warnings on the pack were less than the mandated 85 per cent, smokers believe they smoke safer cigarettes than Indian cigarettes, it added.