CHENNAI: Six persons, including five women, were arrested by sleuths of the Civil Supplies CID near Red Hills on Sunday for attempting to smuggle two tonnes of Public Distribution System (PDS) rice to Andhra Pradesh.
Police said they acted on a tip off and intercepted an Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) bus near a toll plaza on the National Highway during a vehicle inspection. When the bus was stopped, police found five women, Thilaga (35), Radha (35), Venu (42), Koteeswari Dhanammal (48) and Guruammal (60), on board the vehicle. As many as 40 sacks, each containing 50 kilos of PDS rice meant for distribution in Tamil Nadu, were seized.
“Thilaga and Radha were previous offenders. We had booked a case against them last month when they smuggled rice on the same route,” a police official said.
As the women did not posses any valid documents for the rice they were ferrying, police grilled bus driver Venkateswaralu, who confessed that he was helping them transport the rice to AP, where it would be sold at inflated costs.
The ration rice was apparently purchased from the public at Red Hills, Pammadhukulam, Padianallur and Mondiamman Nagar for prices ranging between `3 and `5. As per the smugglers’ modus operandi, the rice would then be packed in sacks containing 50 kg each and subsequently sold to Dhananjayalu alias Ramesh, an agent, in the black market near Gudur, Andhra Pradesh for `9 a kilo. Later, it would be sold for `14 per kg in the open market.
Civil Supplies CID officials said the driver ferried each sack for a cost of `60 and would issue a ‘luggage ticket’ for anywhere between `10 and `12.
He would also collect `100 per head for transporting the persons along with the rice.
All the five persons were arrested and the APSRTC bus, ticket issuing machine and a bag containing `5,080 in cash were seized.