BERHAMPUR: After Ganja peddlers, now it is the turn of illegal gutkha traders to face the heat in Berhampur city. In an attempt to rein in illegal gutkha manufacturing units, the police, in a first-of-its-kind operation in Odisha, froze the bank account of a trader in the city.
On Tuesday, police raided a house at Baunsiapalli within Sadar police limits and seized gutkha, raw materials and machinery from the spot. The unit was sealed after the raid was conducted by Sadar SDPO Siba Shankar Mohapatra and IIC Mahendra Sahu.
Raw material weighing around 14,000 kg packed in 20 bags was seized from the house. This apart, four vehicles for transporting gutkha and Rs 1.5 lakh along with some documents were also seized by the police. The cost of the raw material is estimated at Rs 2 crore. However, the owner of the unit Narendra Sahu and his associate Mitu Sahu managed to flee.
During the investigation it came to the fore that Sahu manufactured illegal gutkha and transported the same to locations within Odisha and other states like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, said Berhampur SP Saravana Vivek M. While Narendra was booked under various sections of COTPA Act-2003, his bank account having a balance of `28,25,148 was frozen. Further investigation is on and a manhunt is launched to nab Narendra and his associate.