In a joint raid conducted by Food Safety officials and the city police, over 4.5 tonnes of banned tobacco products were seized from various places here on Monday. The raid was conducted involving 16 Food Safety officials all over the city, including Fort area, Gandhi Market, Airport, K.K. Nagar and Thennur lasting over five hours.
In one such case, the teams seized over 3 tonnes from a godown belonging to a person by name Tirupathi who runs a grocery shop in Khajapettai area. Tirupathi was later handed over to the police.
The team which went to the grocery shop of Tirupathi later went to his house nearby where they found a godown where the banned products were stocked. In another case, around 1.5 tonnes of tobacco products were seized from a godown functioning on Big Bazaar street – the city’s prominent commercial hub. The godown owner Mangal Ram (25) was arrested on the charge of illegally stocking the banned products.
The banned substances were concealed in boxes and gunny bags. The value of the seized substances was around ₹ 4 lakh, said R. Chitra, District Designated Officer, Tiruchi.
The joint operation was carried out after holding discussions with the city police authorities earlier.
The raid was planned in a surprise manner and carried simultaneously by the Food Safety officials at the chosen areas roping in the police from around 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dr. Chitra said. Interrogation of those from whom the banned products were seized revealed that the products were brought from Bengaluru.
The seized substances were later brought to the Food Safety office here, Dr. Chitra said. Police sources said Mangal Ram was arrested by the Fort Police and a case booked against him.
Dr. Chitra said this was the first time that a huge haul had been seized from different places in the city. Police said a team seized some varieties from the office of a wholesale dealer involved in the sale of biscuits, cigarettes in Fort area on Sunday. The dealer by name Bawan Kumar was arrested and a case booked against him.