'Foreign currency of Rs 30 crore & gold worth Rs 220 crore seized in last one year'

Kolkata: Sadhan Pandey state minister for Consumer Affairs department said that counterfeiting and smuggling are two major economic crimes that are taking part across the globe and the Bengal government is taking strong steps to combat such crimes even during this pandemic.

He was addressing a webinar on 'Combating Counterfeiting and Smuggling during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond', organised by FICCI's Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE). Pande invited CASCADE to join hands with his department to run a campaign on the subject in Bengal.

Deepankar Aron, Additional Director General, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Kolkata said smuggling and counterfeiting is the second most significant illegal trade. Citing recent major detections effected by DRI and Customs formations, Aron said in last one year, 570 kgs of gold valued at Rs 220 crores and foreign currency worth Rs 30 crore was seized. Several cases of smuggled cigarettes were detected where a total of 2.6 crores of cigarette sticks valued at around Rs 26 crores were seized, he added. Hem Pande, Former Secretary, Dept. of Consumer Affairs, GoI said that the menace of illicit trade is impacting jobs, economy and creating havoc all around the world.

"Strengthening enforcement and empowering consumers to combat such crimes should be the constant endeavour," he added.

The webinar also highlighted the efforts of the Industry in tackling the flow of illicit products during the current crisis; role that the government and enforcement agencies can play to thwart criminals who are cashing in during the crisis and highlighted areas of concern in consumer safety.

The webinar was attended by industry, government officials, officers from the enforcement agencies and stakeholders in this segment.

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