The Mahabubnagar police in Telangana uncovered an international racket after it caught a gang that was smuggling ganja from Andhra Pradesh to Sri Lanka via Tamil Nadu. The police said that four people have been arrested and 180 kg of ganja, worth approximately Rs 21 lakh, has been seized.
The arrested accused were identified as P Satish, K Kalyan, M Ajith and G Surendran. Four others, Sivaneswaran, Ramu, Murthy and Ram Reddy are absconding.
The police said that Satish, Kalyan, Sivaneswaran, Ajith and Surendran loaded 98 packets of ganja in a car at Sileru in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh and were planning to illegally transport it to Madurai in Tamil Nadu.
"From there, the contraband would be taken to a border point at Rameshwaram to be smuggled across the sea border to Sri Lanka," the police said.
However, as Surendran was driving near Thatikonda in Telangana, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Bhoothpur police in Mahabubnagar district, he rammed into a stationary lorry.
The police said that Ajith, who was sitting in the car, sustained severe injuries. While some of the accused fled, others who tried to shift the ganja packets were spotted by the lorry driver who informed the police.
"Immediately, they were taken into custody by the Boothpur Police who conducted an enquiry by registering a case and seizing the ganja packets," the police said.
A special team was also formed under directions of District Superintendent of Police Rema Rajeshwari to nab the accused involved in the smuggling.
During the enquiry, the special team found out that the accused had bought the car from a person in Hyderabad for a cost of Rs 1.1 lakh.
The police said that Satish and Kalyan were habitual offenders in transporting ganja. Satish had been arrested in 2009 and 2014 and released on bail on charges of transporting ganja, while Kalyan was sent to the Madurai Jail in December 2018 and released on bail in August 2019 in a ganja case.
The police said that the two accused would buy it for a cheap rate in Sileru and sell it at a higher rate to a local at Rameshwaram, and the same ganja was transported to Sri Lanka and other countries through international smugglers.
"As per the enquiry of the special team it was revealed that the sale price of ganja was Rs 6,000 per kg in Sileru in Visakhapatnam, Rs 11,000 per kg in Hyderabad, Rs 12,000 or Rs 13,000 per kg in Chennai, and upto Rs 18,000 per kg in Sri Lanka, as per their currency value," the police said.
"These gang members have two trips in the past to Chennai and to Rameshwaram border but chose Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu border. In the current (and third) trip they chose Telangana route and were caught," the Mahbubnagar police added.
The accused were booked under Section 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the IPC besides relevant sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.