The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has seized four containers of illegal Chinese firecrackers worth over Rs 7 crore at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Nhava Sheva.
According to sources, the firecrackers were smuggled into the country through the sea. “The fire-crackers were hidden inside the containers and bogus names and addresses were given.
No one came forward with licence for clearance of the goods and these were imported by misdeclaring them in the Import General Manifest as adhesive tapes and badminton rackets with the intention of removing them clandestinely,” said a source.
Under the norms, all fireworks fall under the category of restricted goods. Firecrackers can be imported only against a licence issued by the Chief Controller of Explosives.
In 2014, the government banned import of Chinese fire-crackers in the country as they were deemed potentially dangerous. At that time, the Home Ministry had also issued an advisory to all chief secretaries of Indian states cautioning them about the illegal smuggling of Chinese firecrackers, which contain high proportions of potassium chloride and the banned potassium chlorate which can lead to fire outbreaks.
“Most firecrackers are friction sensitive, hence carriage of such goods without the knowledge of shipping lines in deep seas and port areas poses a great risk to the life of so many people involved in the import export business. These goods are akin to explosives and once seized by DRI or Customs authorities should be safely and quickly disposed,” said sources.
The DRI has also issued an alert circular to sensitise all field formations to gather intelligence on illegal imports and to carefully assess and examine consignments of consumer and miscellaneous goods imported by traders from China, to rule out the possibility of illegal imports through misdeclaration and concealment.