All the six cases were caught either at Ambur or at Madanur on the Vellore-Tirupattur border revealing that the loads were from either Vellore or from Kancheepuram and Chennai.
Officials said that they had informed their Vellore counterparts to tighten checks at Wallajahpet toll plaza as then the source of smuggling could be zeroed on. “If checks at Wallajahpet were made stringent, then we will know whether the rice was from Vellore or from Kancheepuram/Chennai,” top officials revealed.
However, officials added that the Food Cell was asked to investigate as such huge quantities could only be lifted from either the Central government’s FCI or state government’s CSC godowns by somebody with enough clout move such huge loads.
“Corrupt officials could use the dryage and spillage provisions to alter weight,” sources revealed. Also it was common knowledge that fair price shops were issued rice bags which were usually short by 1 or 2 kilos for every quintal, they added.
In the five out of six rice seizures effected jointly by revenue, police and panchayat raj officials, the drivers escaped while the vehicles and rice were seized. In the last case, which occurred a few days ago, the driver was caught after a chase and he is being interrogated.
“Usually we would seize around 1 or 2 tonnes rice packed in 25 kilo bags near the Jolorpet railway station when attempts were made to smuggle it across to Andhra Pradesh, but attempting to smuggle such huge loads is possible only by those with money and power,” revealed a top official.
In the meanwhile, police sources said, “The seizure of 6 lorries worth Rs 30 lakh each amounts to Rs 1.80 crore which will definitely hurt the perpetrator and if we can seize a few more such vehicles we will soon get to the bottom of this smuggling racket.”