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Cigarette manufacturing unit sealed in Mardan

PESHAWAR: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has sealed a cigarette- manufacturing unit in Mardan district over interference in official operation and suspicion that it was involved in the production of counterfeit cigarettes, officials said on Friday.

On the directives of Commissioner Corporate Zone, Regional Tax Office (RTO) FBR Peshawar, Mohammad Tariq Jamal Khattak, Deputy Commissioner (Tobacco), Abdul Baseer Khattak and his team

sealed the Indus Tobacco (Private) Limited, Anwar Killay, Mardan.

For further legal proceedings, the case has been sent to the court of Special Judge (Customs, Taxation & Anti-Smuggling) Peshawar.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner (Tobacco) Abdul Baseer Khattak said the main accused in the case was at large and the factory would remain sealed till the management agree to allow the FBR monitors inside to check the cigarettes manufacturing process.

He said the FBR had registered an FIR against the directors and three co-accused including Ayaz Hoti, Abbas Hoti and Bilal Hoti.

Khattak said the FBR had taken action after the official monitors were evicted from the unit forcefully, adding that there were complaints of counterfeit cigarette manufacturing in the factory.

He said the legal process would be followed to monitor cigarette manufacturing in the factory and nobody would be allowed production and sale of counterfeit cigarettes.

The FBR is committed to prosecuting all those involved in this illegal business, he said.

According to FIR, a Tobacco Monitoring Squad of FBR headed by Inspector Said Ali was on official duty in the cigarette manufacturing factory wherein he was attacked by three persons, was stopped from working, and then kicked out of the production hall.

During that period, the management of the factory allegedly shifted illegal stock of cigarettes from the spot. Three directors of the company were also backing the accused, it said.

The three persons have been nominated as main accused while the directors as co-accused in the case while the factory has been sealed.

The FBR authorities have made clear that the violators of the law would be dealt with an iron hand and tax evaders would get no leniency.

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