The Excise and Prohibition Department of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday seized a huge quantity of ganja In Visakhapatanam's Hukumpet mandal in the Agency area, and arrested two people while they transporting more than two tonnes of the plant.
As per official estimates, the seized contraband is worth more than Rs 2 crore.
The Times of India reported that the enforcement wing of the Excise Department was tipped off about 2,290 kg of dry ganja being transported in a van at Uppa in Hukumpet mandal under the Paderu excise station limits on Tuesday.
The report adds that, following this, Inspector P Muralidhar and sub-inspector U Nageswara Rao of the excise enforcement wing, along with their staff intercepted the van and nabbed the accused.
The two persons who were arrested in the case were identified as VV Chinna Rao (27) from the Visakhapatnam Agency area and J Bala Murugan (32) from Madurai in Tamil Nadu, media reports add.
Assistant Commissioner of Excise (Enforcement) SVVN Babji Rao told The Hindu that the ganja was neatly packed in gunny bags and covered with tarpaulin. A person who was travelling on a motorbike, acted as a pilot for the van and was supposed to travel ahead and inform about inspections.
“We intercepted the pilot first and then caught the van. However, the driver of the van managed to escape,” the police official told the newspaper.
The Hans India reported that the drivers were told to ensure that the ganja reached Karasapadu area, from where others would take it to Tamil Nadu.
Along with the van, one motor cycle and a mobile phone, Rs 24, 000 in cash was also seized.
Ganja is grown at a large scale in the Agency area of Visakhapatnam, and officials suspect that a lot of Maoists are involved in cultivation of the plant, and use the money gained from its sale, for their activities.
Earlier this week, Roads and Buildings Minister Ayyanna Patrudu alleged that officials knew the people who were cultivating the plant, and demanded that strict action be taken against them.
"Who exports it? Through whom does it get exported? Who are the big guns in this? How is this going to Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad? It’s an open secret among all the departments," he said, speaking to the local media in Visakhapatnam.