Officials from the Department of Agriculture raided a building, which was allegedly used for ‘manufacturing’ pesticides, and sealed it on Thursday. They also seized packed goods worth over Rs.20 lakh from the premises.

Following complaints to Collector L. Subramanian at the recently held farmers’ grievances meeting that pesticides and other chemicals purchased from select outlets under specific brand names were not effective, the officials were ordered to investigate.

After gathering inputs, a team led by Joint Director (Agriculture) Jaisingh Gnanadurai checked the goods at a private firm situated on the Kamaraj Nagar Second Street, Tallakulam, since Wednesday night.

The firm had been functioning for over 10 years under the guise of manufacturing and selling agro-products, which included micro-nutrients for jasmine, cotton, paddy and vegetables. The firm, through its network in southern districts, operated in a few neighbouring States as well.

The goods, which were packed in glossy containers in different quantities ranging from 250 gm and 500 gm had instructions on how to use the products and their salient features. However, preliminary inquiries with the two partners Ravindran of Dindigul and Lakshmanan of Nagercoil suggested that they were allegedly carrying on with the trade without legal permission from authorities, the officers claimed.

Another official, Suruli Bommu, said that in the ground floor and on the first floor of the building, the staff had dumped large quantities of expired chemicals and pesticides, used for jasmine cultivation, procured from other sources. By repacking them in attractive containers, the unsuspecting farmers were taken for a ride in the markets.

The Collector has instructed other government agencies to interrogate two accused and also formed 10 teams to conduct checks at similar fertilizer outlets in the city and district.

There is a suspicion that the firm may be operating in a larger network in southern districts.