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ISLAMABAD: Joint teams of Azad Jammu & Kashmir’s excise and taxation department and police have conducted biggest operation against tax evasion in the cigarette industry of AJK.

According to details, following the instructions of the Prime Minister of AJK, the historic crackdown operation had been continued with full pace against the tax evading cigarette manufacturing factories in the areas of AJK. This is the biggest operation against local cigarette manufacturers conducted in the history of AJK.

A joint investigation team has also been constituted by the Interior Ministry of the AJK government to recommend further course of action against tax evasion in tobacco sector and convenience of any officer for taking action against them in the AJK.

In this regard raids were conducted on warehouses and different offices of tobacco companies based in AJK.

In the raid at a warehouse of Watan Tobacco Company under the supervision of DSP HQ Naseer Ahmed along with IRO Inland Muhammad Shakeel, authorities confiscated raw material of cigarettes including 3,230 bags of raw tobacco, 45 cartons filter paper, 504 cartons filter rod, 90 cartons of cigarette brand Express, 31 cartons of cigarette brand Hero and 33 cartons of cigarette brand Grace. The authorities later sealed the godown and initiated legal procedure against the owner and the warehouse manager.

In another operation, government authorities raided warehouse of National Tobacco Company, Bhimber and seized 3,811 cartons of illegal cigarettes and more than 384,000 kgs of raw tobacco.

Similarly, during a raid on the Walton Tobacco Company, Barnala, government authorities seized 10 cartons of illegal cigarettes, 10 bags of tobacco to prepare 100 million cigarette sticks and 19 cigarette paper rolls and other related material.

In another operation, authorities raided a house which was taken on rent by National Tobacco Company. During the raid, the authorities seized 85 cartons filter rods, 67 cartons cigarette paper, 17 cartons illegal cigarette, 16 cartons cigarette tape, 10,000 kgs of raw tobacco and other raw material.

In a separate raid at Chanar Tobacco Company, Barnala, the authorities confiscated 731 bags of tobacco.

At the moment, AJK tax authorities are losing billions of rupees annually only due to tax evasion in the cigarette sector of AJK. These illegal cigarettes which are manufactured in AJK are smuggled to the various areas of Punjab.

It is interesting to mention that despite passing of last final date, track and trace system had not been implemented in the cigarette factories located in the areas of AJK.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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