Customs unearths racket of betel nuts smugglers

KARACHI: The Pakistan Customs has unearthed a racket of betel nuts smugglers who got cleared the consignments of betel nuts under the garb of iron and steel coils.

At least four Karachi-based traders were using importers of other cities for smuggling of betel nuts as the legal import of betel nuts had been subjected to completion of necessary documentation and certificates.

The suspects removed the betel nuts from containers and filled them with the iron/steel coils en-route to Lahore Dry Port from Karachi on transshipment permits.

The network comprised Jameel Ali, owner of M/s Ajmair Impex, Lahore, Directors of M/s Airotor Transport and Logistics, Karachi the bonded career, Directors of M/s Modern Shipping Agencies Karachi, M/s Sky Shipping Lines LLC Dubai, UAE, and four traders of betel nuts from Karachi. The four traders are identified as Abdul Mueez Bawani, Azeez Ahmed, Owais Rasheed and Shafiq and the Customs officials have filed an FIR against them.

M/s Ajmair Impex Lahore imported the consignment, comprising on two containers registration numbers BAXU-2588107 and MAEU 7813519 were arrived from Dubai on 14th February and TP for Lahore Dry port was filed on 23rd February, 2018.

The consignment was declared as galvanized plan sheets, got cleared from Customs Collectorate Appraisement West for Lahore by the private bonded career company M/s Airotor Transport and Logistics Ltd, Clifton Karachi on vehicles numbers E2082 and TKA-727.

According to the FIR number 03/2018 registered by Collectorate of Customs Appraisement dry port Mughalpura, Lahore the importer and bonded career with the assistance of other accused smuggled the betel nuts under the garb of galvanized plan sheets and removed the betel nuts from the containers during transshipment to Lahore and supplied the smuggled betel nuts to Karachi.

This is the second FIR against the M/s Ajmair Impex during last two weeks as ten days ago it was booked when a consignment of the smuggled betel nuts was intercepted by the Customs Appraisement East Karachi and R&D team of East seized 25.250 MT betel nuts smuggled by the Lahore based company under the garb of galvanized plain sheets.

It is pertinent to mention that price of betel nuts has raised from 300 rupees per kilogram to 2500 rupees per kilogram due to the restriction on its import and till now approximately over 200 containers of betel nuts are  stopped at all ports and containers terminals of Karachi awaiting for clearance.

Apex court also directed FBR’s and customs officials to ensure that low quality and hazardous betel nuts could not be supplied into the country as the youth of all major cities of Pakistan specially Karachi bearing and suffering all the negative consequences of the use of these betel nuts in great context as mouth cancer on rise in youngster for using Gutka, Mainpuri, Mawa and other products of low quality and hazardous betel nuts.