Areca nuts worth Rs 3.25 crore seized at Andhra's Krishnapatnam Port

Nellore (Andhra Pradesh) [India], May 14 (ANI): Officers of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in Nellore and Vijayawada seized a total of 113 Metric Tonnes of Areca nuts, worth Rs 3.25 crore at Krishnapatnam Port here.

Based on specific intelligence relating to illegal imports of areca nuts into the country, by concealing with copra expeller cake (cover cargo), officers of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in Nellore and Vijayawada, visited Krishnapatnam Port and verified imports made by two importers in eight containers from May 10-May 12, a DRI statement said here on Wednesday.

On detailed examination, it was found that the importers declared 156 MT of "Coconut Expeller Cake" for import into the country. However, only 43 Mt was as per the declared cargo.

Remaining 113 MT was actually areca nuts of 90/95 grade of Indonesian Origin on which customs duty evaded worked out to Rs 3.25 crore.

Areca nuts attract 100 per cent Customs duty and its value is far higher than Coconut Expeller Cake.

When the containers were examined, the first two rows in the containers were loaded with Coconut Expeller Cake and the remaining rows were loaded with Areca nuts. It appears that that the importers were using "Coconut Expeller Cake" as a cover cargo to illegally import areca nuts.

The masterminds were intercepted in Kerala with help of Cochin Police, CGST officers of Cochin and DRI officers of Cochin.

It is noticed that in the past also the said importers have resorted to this kind of modus and smuggled in about 150 MT of Areca nuts.

As the Areca nuts have been attempted to be smuggled into India in contravention of provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 the same were seized under Customs Act, 1962.

Further investigation is in progress. (ANI)