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Pakistani man arrested for illegally selling pan masala worth crores during lockdown

A Pakistani man has been arrested by the central GST intelligence officials for illegally selling pan masala worth crores of rupees in parts of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and neighbouring states even during the lockdown period, officials said on Thursday.

The accused, who had a long-term visa, was arrested on Wednesday by the officials of Directorate General of Goods and Services Intelligence (DGGI) in Indore, about 195-kms from here, they said.

The arrest came after the DGGI officers conducted simultaneous search operations at five godowns controlled and operated by the accused as well as his residence in Indore on Saturday and Sunday.

“Unaccounted stock of pan masala / tobacco having total estimated value of about Rs 2.25 crore was seized during the search operation,” a statement issued by the Additional Director General, DGGI, Bhopal zone, said.

Pan masala/tobacco was found to be stored in the godowns clandestinely for its distribution in various districts of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and other neighbouring states, the statement said.

During the search at the residential premises, Rs 66.47 lakh unaccounted cash amount was also seized, it said.

In his statement given to the officers, the accused confessed that the seized cash was the sale proceeds of the pan masala/tobacco supplied without issuing invoice and without payment of GST, the statement said.

Based on preliminary investigations by the DGGI, it has been estimated that the accused person and his associates have evaded GST of around Rs 18.80 crore on the goods, valued at about Rs 40 crore, sold illicitly for cash during the period from April 2019 to May 2020, it said.

Considering the huge scale of tax evasion, in order to protect revenue, procedure of provisional attachment of immovable properties and bank accounts of the accused was initiated.

“Under this process three immovable properties and five bank accounts belonging to the accused and his associate were provisionally attached on Wednesday,” the statement said.

The accused was arrested on Wednesday and produced before an Economic Offences Wing (EOW) Court in Indore that has remanded him to 14 days judicial custody up to June 17, it said.

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