Lanka fines three Indians for bringing cigarettes illegallyOctober 13th, 2008 - 5:32 pm ICT by IANS
Colombo, Oct 13 (IANS) Sri Lankan authorities Monday fined five people, including three Indians, after seizing a van loaded with cigarettes which were being illegally brought into the country from India, an official said. Senior Superintendent of the Excise Department Upul Seneviratne said a luxury van, carrying illegal stock of cigarettes worth nearly Sri Lankan Rs.1 million ($9,387), was seized Monday from the Colombo airport. The contraband was being transported in the van hidden among textiles.
“We arrested three Indians and two Sri Lankans, including a woman, in this regard. During the investigation it was revealed that the Indians, who are originally textile businessmen, have brought in such stocks more than 20 times illegally from India in connivance with their local partners,” Seneviratne told IANS.
He said: “The side business was going on without the payment of proper import customs tax”. The target customers are based in northern and eastern regions of the country.
“We have seized the cigarette stock but released the tax-evaders with their van after ordering them to pay Rs.400,000 as fine,” he added.