Officials say steel plant should have avoided registration of case with the police

The handing over of smuggling of certain products from Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, the corporate entity of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant will involve cumbersome process.

Though the management has decided in-principle to hand over the case pertaining to seizure of a tractor-lorry with 22 tonne of finished products to the CBI, it will not be an easy-going, sources in the premier investigation agency told THE HINDU on Monday.

As the CISF unit of the RINL after seizing the vehicle handed over the case to the city police, now for transferring the investigation to the CBI, clearance is required from both the State and the Central governments. As per the Sections 5 and 6 of Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act of 1946 specific orders from both the governments is required. CBI investigation powers are derived from the Act.

This is because FIR is registered with the Steel Plant Police vide Crime No. 18/2013 dated 28.01.2013.

For transferring the case, as per procedures, the RINL management has to write a letter to the Police Commissioner, who in turn has to get clearance from the Home Department. Later it has to get the consent from the Ministry of Personnel, under whose administrative control CBI functions.

The CISF unit seized the brand new lorry having 16 tyres with three types of finished products laden in it after a surveillance team kept a watch on knowing that the vehicle is lying abandoned in one corner of the steel plant, a senior CISF official said. Union leaders say after seizure of the lorry with fake registration number, another empty lorry belonging to the same firm which owned the first one, was also impounded. This is an indication that there was another attempt to smuggle finished goods from the plant.

Connivance

The seized material in the first case weighing around 22 tonne is estimated to cost around Rs.40 lakh to Rs.50 lakh. “We suspect that the racket is going on for several years with the connivance of several bigwigs,” VSP union leader Padi Trinadha Rao said.

Incidentally, notwithstanding fool-proof system in production and online coding system in place at the VSP, the officials did not bother to repair/replace surveillance cameras.

The CISF also does not have the system of verifying the gate pass, chassis and engine numbers of the vehicles going into the plant. Sources said from the BC stockyard gate, vehicles belonging to some firms do gain entry without valid gate passes. “Handing over the case to the CBI would have been as easy affair had the management asked it to probe by avoiding registration of a case by the police,” an official said.

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