Rice smugglers in Tamil Nadu fix GPS devices in tahsildar’s car to evade check, held
The car driver of a flying squad tahsildar of the civil supplies and consumer protection department connived with the rice smugglers to fix the devices in the vehicle.
KRISGNAGIRI: Two suspected rice smugglers and the car driver of a flying squad tahsildar of the civil supplies and consumer protection department in Krishnagiri were booked by police for fixing GPS devices in the revenue official’s car to allegedly track his movement to escape from surprise checks.
While N Devaraj (33) of Nadusalai near Gurubarapalli, who is out on bail in a rice smuggling case, has been arrested in the GPS case by the Krishnagiri police on Thursday under various sections, an inquiry is on with car driver K Subramani (59) of Mekalachinnampalli. Ponnappan, who is also suspected to be involved in the case, is on the run.
According to police sources, M Elango (54), who is working as tahsildar (flying squad) of the civil supplies department since June 2022, used to inspect ration shops and conduct vehicle checks to prevent smuggling of PDS rice to Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka through Krishnagiri district. He had seized about 200 tonnes of smuggled ration rice in the last one year. His official car is normally parked at the Krishnagiri collectorate whenever it’s not in use. Around February this year, his vehicle developed some glitch and he took it for repair to a mechanical shop in Krishnagiri town when he found a small GPS tracker fixed near the car’s fuel tank. Subsequently, Elango told the then Krishnagiri Collector, Deepak Jacob, about it and the collector informed police. Krishnagiri police and Civil Supplies-CID started secret probe into the issue. Meanwhile, between April and May this year, three more GPS trackers were found in the car. The revenue officer immediately shared the information with the CS-CID team.
Meanwhile, on suspicion, Subramani was relieved from his driver role in July and another driver was appointed in his place.
Then, on early June, one more device was spotted in the car. A special police team was also constituted to inquire into the issue after a formal complaint was filed with the Krishnagiri taluk police. Two weeks ago, a CS-CID team confiscated the mobile phone of N Devaraj and during inquiry, he allegedly confessed that he had fixed GPS devices in the tahsildar’s car. Devaraj said he had bought the GPS devices online. Call data records and mobile devices connected with the GPS tracker established Devaraj’s link in the case, police said. Ponnappan, another rice smuggler, may also be involved in the case, police said.
Police booked the three under IPC 225(obstruction to lawful apprehension of another person), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and Section 72 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (penalty for breach of confidentiality and privacy).
The Krishnagiri Judicial Magistrate Court II on Thursday evening enlarged Devaraj on bail. The search is on to arrest Ponnappan.