The customs officials have seized some three metric tons of foreign cigarettes while being imported in the guise of duty-free clothing accessories through the Chattogram port.
Audit, Investigation and Research (AIR) Unit of the customs seized the consignment, declared to be a shipment of 241500 pieces of plastic hanger, just before its release.
Versatile Attire Limited, an importer from Dhaka's Savar, was importing the 60-lakh sticks of cigarette from China and attempted to evade estimated revenue of Tk 14.5 crore through the false declaration, said Rezaul Karim, assistant commissioner of AIR unit.
It was learnt that a ship named MV Alion carried the consignment from China's Sanghai to Chattogram port on 28 May.
Joyeeta Trade Corporation, the C&F agent assigned by the importer for unloading the goods, submitted the bill of entry at Chattogram Custom House on 1 June to get the consignment released. It was supposed to leave the NCT yard upon completion of other formalities on Thursday.
In the meantime, the AIR team carried out a raid on the basis of secret information and seized the cigarettes worth at Tk 4 crore.
Assistant Commissioner Rezaul Karim said the concerned officials were directed to take strict action and ensure exemplary punishment to those who facilitated the entire plan.
Sarwar Mamun Chowdhury, proprietor of Joyeeta Trade Corporation, said, "As C&F agent, we are not supposed to know about the products of the consignment. I was shocked to learn that unannounced cigarettes were found in the consignment."
When contacted, Versatile Attire Limited Managing Director Mustafa Imrul Quayes spurned the allegation, saying there is no option to find cigarettes in their consignment.
Any other party may be involved in the incident, he claimed.