CHENNAI: A 13-member gang, involved in making and packing ‘mawa’ (a form of chewing tobacco) in small sachets and supplying them to school and college students, was arrested and `10 lakh worth of properties, including the tobacco products, were recovered by the police on Saturday.
The gang was rounded up with the products to be sold on Alagappa Street at Kilpauk and Harrington Road.
Following a tip-off that the product was being sold in the secluded locations, a special police team led by Deputy Commissioner S Jayakumar carried out the operation and seized the product weighing 150 kg.
They seized ‘jardha’ (300 kg), tobacco (150 kg), slaked lime (80 kg) and ‘mawa’ sachets numbering 1,000 and the mixies and grinders used for preparation were seized. Besides, the police team seized `1.6 lakh in cash money earned through sale of ‘mawa’.
The entire seizure was valued at `10 lakh.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the ingredients from Assam and Bihar were sneaked into the city by trains and they had regular suppliers who in turn rely on the couriers for supply. In order to escape being caught by the police, they pack the products in small bags and place them in the unreserved compartments where they declare it as mere luggage.
‘Mawa’ is made by mixing ‘jardha’, tobacco, slaked lime, jaggery made from palm juice and chebula fruit and also small quantities of ganja and later pack them in small sachets.
“The customers were mainly the students and construction workers who buy in bulk and supply them to their co-workers.
The business spreads mostly through word of mouth and most of the school students were the customers,” said an investigating officer. All thirteen arrested were remanded in judicial custody.