Tirupati: The red sanders anti-smuggling task force of Andhra Pradesh arrested 84 men from Tamil Nadu just as they were about to enter the forest at the Anjaneyapuram check post, near Tirupati, on Friday. They were travelling inside a closed truck, like cattle.
Ashok Kumar, the sub-inspector of the task force, had received information that over 50 smugglers were about to start from Arcot, near Vellore, in a truck bearing vehicle number AP 04 W 3877. He had received similar tip-offs twice in the previous month, but the team had not been able to track down the vehicles.
On Friday, Mr Kumar divided his team into four groups and posted them at Gajulamandyam Circle, Renigunta Circle, Karakambadi Bridge and the Anj-aneyapuram check post. The group at the check post caught sight of the truck with the expected number. Their suspicions that it contained smugglers were confirmed when they saw that the truck was covered with a white mat.
The group followed the truck and alerted the other groups. In a dramatic climax, all the vehicles of the task force cornered the truck and blocked its path. When officers took off the mat covering the truck, they saw that there were over 80 men under it.
The truck was taken to the task force office in Kapilteertham. It was found that there were 84 smugglers in all. Upon questioning, they revealed that the kingpin of their network had offered Rs 600 per kg of red sanders. When they w-ere caught, the driver had been awaiting instructions from the kingpin regarding the location at which the smugglers were to be dropped off. Two of the smugglers were found to be students completing their M.Com and MCA respectively.
The Task Force police recorded the details of the men and granted them station bail with sureties. The arrest was considered preventative and station bail was granted as the men were caught before the crime was committed. This has been the Task Force’s largest catch. Previously, they had arrested a maximum of 13 persons in a single episode....