The intelligence arm of the Finance Ministry has busted an illegal pan masala and gutkha manufacturing unit in Karnataka’s Kolar area and detected central excise duty evasion to the tune of Rs 400 crore. A team of officers of Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCEI) searched the unregistered manufacturing unit and found 21 pouch packing machines in running condition, sources today said. The factory operated from a poultry farm on Pavan college road, Kolar, and manufactured Khaleja, Rebel, Remo, Kabali, Dubai, MC, HAI and AAA1000 brands of pan masala.
The machines, raw material and related goods have been seized. Unaccounted cash amounting to Rs 83 lakh was seized from various premises in Kolar in Karnataka and Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, the sources said. The unit evaded central excise duty to the tune of Rs 400 crore, they said. The authorities suspect a Guntur-based real estate baron is linked to the illegal manufacturing unit, the sources said.
Searches at the house of the businessman in Guntur led to the seizure of Rs 27 lakh in cash. The DGCEI officials have issued a summons to the real estate tycoon, asking him to appear before it for questioning in the case. The businessman is at large, the sources said.
It is suspected that the factory was running for long and a huge amount of black money was routed through it, they said. One person responsible for the operations, logistics and appropriation of sale proceeds at the clandestine manufacturing unit in Kolar has been arrested and remanded to 15-day judicial custody, the sources said.