In one of the major seizures of PDS rice smuggled to neighbouring states, officials of the Revenue and Forest departments, on Thursday, seized 55 tonnes of PDS rice and three lorries used to transport them, at Pathalapalli forest checkpost near Pernambut.
The officials also nabbed five persons and handed them over to the Vellore unit of the CID Food Cell for inquiry.
Acting on a tip-off about smuggling of ration rice in huge quantities, a team of Revenue and Forest department officials, led by Taluk Supply Officer (TSO) of Gudiyattam S A Gnanasekaran, conducted a vehicle check at the Forest checkpost at Pathalapalli on the Pernambut-V Kotta Road on Thursday.
Upon intercepting three lorries bearing Karnataka registration numbers around 8.30 am, the officials found loads of rice bags in them. “A total of 55 tonnes of rice was found in the lorries. The invoices were found to be fake. We checked the rice with the testing centre at the civil supplies godown in Vellore and confirmed that it was meant for PDS,” the TSO said.
The officials also nabbed the three lorry drivers - Praveen Kumar (30), Ravi (36) and Shankar (35) - of Bangarapet in Karnataka and two cleaners - Balaraman (25) and Manu (25) from KGF, Karnataka.
On inquiry, they revealed that they were transporting the rice from a unit in Tondiarpet in Chennai to Bangarapet.
“The police personnel attached to the CID Food Cell have taken one of the drivers to Chennai to locate the source of the smuggled rice,” Inspector of Police, CID-Food Cell, Jagadesan said.
District Collector Ajay Yadav said that the seizure was the result of constant measures taken by the district administration to prevent diversion of PDS rice to the black market in neighbouring states.