Areca nuts smuggling: 5 crores worth areca nuts busted at Nhava Sheva 

12 June,2024 08:44 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  Faizan Khan

The seized Areca Nuts, valued at approximately Rs. 5.7 crores, were found to be under an attempt to evade duty amounting to about Rs. 6.27 crores

The busted areca nuts. Pic/ Faizan Khan


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In a significant crackdown earlier this week, officers of the Special Intelligence and Investigation Branch (Import) [SIIB(I)] at Jawaharlal Nehru Custom House (JNCH), Nhava Sheva, intercepted and seized 112.14 metric tons (MTs) of Areca Nuts concealed in containers misdeclared as "BITUMEN" in import documents.

The seized Areca Nuts, valued at approximately Rs. 5.7 crores, were found to be under an attempt to evade duty amounting to about Rs. 6.27 crores. Areca Nuts are classified and attract a high tariff value and duty structure of 110% plus Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST), aimed at protecting Indian Areca Nut farmers. Based on specific intelligence, SIIB(I) officers placed ten containers on hold and conducted a detailed examination, revealing the concealed Areca Nuts inside bitumen drums. This unique smuggling method involved placing Areca Nuts inside bitumen drums hidden within containers loaded with actual bitumen drums at the front side, contrary to their usual import in bags.

"This seizure underscores the sophisticated tactics employed by international smuggling syndicates," officials from SIIB(I) said.

India, being the largest producer of Areca Nuts globally, faces rampant smuggling, primarily to supply the illegal Gutka industry. This interception follows closely on the heels of another significant seizure of nearly 190 MTs of Areca Nuts by SIIB(I) at JNCH, Nhava Sheva, just ten days ago.

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