Indo-Canadian Couple Held for Importing 'Gutka'

Toronto, Dec 15 (IANS) Canadian custom officials have seized an illegal consignment of 'gutka' (chewing tobacco) from an Indian shopkeeper in the city of Winnipeg.

Gutka as well as many ayurvedic medicines from India are banned in Canada. The illegal consignment of gutka, weighing 150 kg, was brought into Canada from the US, the authorities said Monday.

Fifty-year-old Yog Rahi Gupta, who owns the Indian Spice House in the city, and his 53-year-old wife have been charged for bringing the contraband into Canada.

A former journalist from Jammu, Gupta has been living in Canada for about three decades. He runs two outlets of the Indian Spice House in Winnipeg.

The couple has been released to appear in court March 22.

The authorities said Gupta evaded taxes to the tune of $25,000 on the illegal consignment. It came from India via the US.

The search warrants against the couple followed when the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) reported the illegal consignment earlier last week.

The local police and customs officials raided the India Spice House outlets and seized the consignment.

Winnipeg has over 35,000 people of Indian origin. It boasts six gurdwaras, two temples and a mosque in the city. There are 12 Indian goods stores and eight Indian restaurants in this city.

Indian professionals, including doctors and teachers, started coming into the city in the late 1950s.




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