According to media reports. Bharat H Shah and his son Srinik Shah were arrested from Chennai by the Customs Department on Wednesday, busting Agarbatti Smuggling from Vietnam. In addition, the Customs Department has seized 161.94 metric tons of incense sticks and 68.36 metric tons of incense sticks. Both these goods were seized from containers imported from Vietnam, including ‘M / s. It was written ‘Indian Agarbatti Manufacturers’. This is one of the biggest actions of the Customs Department in recent times. Importers had told the customs department that these containers contain Joss Powder and premix powder for making incense sticks.
Acumen to take advantage of the free trade agreement
Normally 15% customs duty is levied on joss powder, but this charge is Nil under FTA- Free Trade Agreement with ASEAN countries. Since Vietnam is also a part of ASEAN countries, there is no customs duty to import joss powder from here. Importers thus took unfair advantage of the FTA. With the help of these items, they used to import restricted goods ie incense sticks. Let us know that since August last year, incense sticks have been put in a restricted category. No one can import it without a license.
The Customs Department got input that smuggling of incense sticks is being done from Vietnam incorrectly, which is prohibited to be imported into India. After this, the Customs Department took the help of analytics to catch the suspected importer. After this, 6 containers of this importer were closely monitored at Chennai port.
It was informed that premix powder has been imported in these containers for making joss powder and incense sticks, but after checking it was found that a large number of incense sticks and incense sticks have been kept in it. It was very cleverly hidden among the mentioned items.