Banned tobacco products like pan masala and gutka are being widely transported into the state from across the border with the help of interstate bus staff that has forced the Kerala State Road Transport authorities to issue “dismissal warnings.”
The new modus operandi was revealed when two conductors were booked at Aryankavu and Walayar checkposts for aiding the ‘carriers’ earlier this month.
“The cops during their probe unearthed the modus operandi. The tobacco product ‘paan paraag’ is concealed in sacks which are then put into the vehicle. But none of the carriers will travel in the bus. The staff will be told that their agents would collect the same at the destination point and for all this they will be given a percentage as commission,” said sources.
The tobacco products are being brought in via the buses from various points like Coimbatore, Tenkasi, Nagercoil, Mysore, Bangalore and Mangalore.
“The pan paraag packets are sold at Rs 5 in Tamil Nadu and double that price in the state. Up to 1,000 packets are delivered to the agreed place in a single trip,” they said.
The incident forced the management to issue a circular to all depots operating interstate services to warn the staff that they would face stern punishment like dismissal for indulging in such operations.
In its circular (0079/EDO/14 dated 24-05-2014), the vigilance officer at each of the depots was also asked to deploy inspectors in the interstate services to monitor the staff.