The Dhaka West VAT authorities have a filed a criminal case against the owner of a factory in Tangail that illegally makes fake cigarettes in the name of operating as an auto rice mill without VAT registration.
Revenue Officer at Dhaka West VAT Commissionerate Md Samiul Haque filed the case at Kalihati Police Station in Tangail on Monday.
On March 11 last year, a team from the Dhaka West VAT authorities, with the help of the Rapid Action Battalion, raided Shakil Auto Rice Mill in the Kamarthi area of Kalihati, and seized a substantial amount of cigarette-making material and eight machines used in the factory.
The factory was sealed off.
Among the items seized were 3,330 kilogrammes of tobacco, 4.5 lakh filters, a packet of fake Gold Leaf cigarettes, and delivery documents for a bundle of cigarettes.
A three-member team led by Deputy Commissioner Md Saidul Alam was then formed. The team in its report found that factory owner Asaduzzaman was involved in the crime.
He has been charged with VAT evasion and illegally operating a cigarette factory without obtaining registration according to VAT law.
Investigators also found that the factory makes and markets fake cigarettes of different brands, including those of British American Tobacco.
There are unscrupulous people who carry out this kind of illegal business across the country because of the high amount of VAT on cigarettes. The National Board of Revenue is thus being deprived of VAT amounting to hundreds of crores of taka.
On the other hand, legal factories that pay VAT regularly are struggling to stay competitive.
Officials said punitive measures will also be taken against the factory in line with VAT law.