6m counterfeit cigarettes seized in Rawalpindi
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has seized two truckloads of six million counterfeit cigarettes. A team of the Regional Tax Office Rawalpindi intercepted two trucks carrying 300 packarites of counterfeited brand ‘Classic’ and 300 packarites of counterfeited brand ‘Kissan’ on Expressway Murree near Lower Topa.
According to the FBR documents, the driver was asked to provide evidence of payment of federal excise duty as envisaged in the Federal Excise Act, 2005, and Federal Excise Rules 2005, but no legal document or federal excise invoice was available with the drivers.
The examination of cigarettes showed that 300 packarites containing three million counterfeited cigarettes of ‘Kissan’ brand and 300 packarites containing three million counterfeited cigarettes of ‘classic’ brand was loaded on the trucks. The FBR said that worth of the seized cigarettes is Rs 18.9 million with the tax evasion of around Rs 12.6 million in the federal excise duty and sales tax. It added that according to statements of both the drivers, cigarettes were loaded from truck stand in Muzaffarabad in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and were destined to wholesale market in Rawalpindi. The FBR has seized the cigarettes along with the vehicles and sent the samples to original brand owners for the confirmation.
Khyber Tobacco Company Legal Advisor Abdur Rauf claimed that the counterfeit cigarettes were manufactured in Wayword tobacco factory located in Muzaffarabad and owned by Babar Taj and Babar Naseem. He also hailed FBR for its action against the makers of counterfeit cigarettes.
The FBR has started a drive against the counterfeit cigarettes across the country following directions by Prime Minister Imran Khan as these cigarettes have been causing billions of rupees losses to the national exchequer through tax evasion.