BOGURA: A team of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB-12) has busted an illegal cigarette factory inside a cinema hall in Shibganj Upazila of the district on Monday.
The RAB team has also seized a huge amount of illegally manufactured cigarettes from the factory named SM Tobacco under the ownership of Suraiya Sarker. The cigarettes were manufactured evading tax to the government. On secret information, the RAB team in cooperation with customs officials conducted the drive on Monday.Senior Assistant Superintendent of Police Swajal Kumar Ghosh led the drive. Police held 6 employees of the factory along with 2,40,000 sticks of illegally manufactured cigarettes from Sathi Cinema Hall.
RAB-12 official Swajal Kumar Ghosh said, “SM Tobacco has long been manufacturing illegal cigarettes inside the cinema hall. Sources said that SM Tobacco has been marketing Senor Gold Special, Dubai, Enjoy, MG Gold and other cigarettes in Bogura and adjacent districts. The prices of those cigarettes are between Tk 20-25 per packet. But the government has set Tk 39 as the least price for a packet of cigarette.
The detainees said that they manufacture cigarette according to the quantity of the raw materials, and the cigarette company representatives take delivery of those cigarettes. Syed Mokaddes Hossain, assistant commissioner of the Bogura Board of Revenue, said, “They (SM Tobacco) were doing business with licenses. We will investigate what they were doing evading tax.”
The factory has been sealed and we have recovered illegal goods, he said, adding that criminal case will be filed against them.
Not just in factories or warehouses, the illegal cigarettes are also produced in rice mills, and even in oil mills. Manufactured cigarettes from these factories spread in districts across the country without VAT challan through courier services, which is illegal.
The NBR website shows that the name of proprietor of SM Tobacco is Suraiya Sarker.When inquired and wanted to know about the manufacturing of cigarettes illegally without paying tax, she disconnected the phone saying wrong number.