Gutkha worth Rs. 28 lakh confiscated, three arrested

Thane, Aug 3: Gutkha worth Rs 28.08 lakh, which was being transported from Hyderabad under the garb of plastic scrap, was seized in adjoining Raigad district and three persons were arrested in this connection, Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said today.

Acting on a tip-off, a FDA team intercepted a vehicle near Panvel and seized 15,600 packets of a particular brand of gutkha worth Rs 28.08 lakh yesterday, FDA Joint Commissioner (Konkan) P M Raut said here.

Those arrested were Chandrakant Babraham Gurav (22), Mohd Surfraj Usman Khan (43) and Chandrakant Surendra Pratapsing (28). Gurav, the driver, and Khan hail from Hyderabad, while Pratapsing is a transporter based in Kandivali in suburban Mumbai, he said. The trio was rounded up with the help of Panvel Crime Branch officials.

Raut said the banned tobacco-laced product was being brought to Mumbai as plastic waste and the vehicle managed to avoid getting caught at octroi and toll plazas till it reached Panvel. Sale, manufacture and consumption of gutkha had been banned in Maharashtra since 2012.