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ISLAMABAD: Azad Kashmir police Tuesday busted a network of unscrupulous elements selling counterfeit cigarettes in the market, causing revenue loss of millions to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) due to evasion of taxes and duties.

On a tip-off, the police raided various areas and markets in the Muzaffarabad city, and seized a large quantity of counterfeit cigarettes being sold to people with fake trademarks of different registered tobacco companies.

The police, following a complaint from a multinational cigarette manufacturing company, sprang into action and registered criminal case to investigate the matter further.

The manager business development of the multinational cigarette manufacturing company told the police that criminals and fraudsters were damaging the reputation of the company by selling counterfeit cigarettes with the fake trademarks in the market.

He informed the police that the fraudsters were not only playing with the health of the people by selling spurious cigarettes but also causing a huge loss to the FBR by not paying sales tax, income tax, and excise duty.

The police have registered the case and started further investigation, the FIR concluded.

Meanwhile, the local businessmen said illicit cigarette manufacturing was in full swing in the area without the official no-objection certificate, while the government had yet to initiate action against it.

They threatened to observe a hunger strike outside the AJK legislative assembly, if strict legal action was not initiated against manufacturers and sellers of counterfeit cigarettes.

At the same time, many locals and notables of the area have already approached the Azad Kashmir government to probe the affairs of the Wayward Tobacco Company Limited of that area.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021