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Major breakthrough in steel smuggling racket

Staff Reporter
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11 accused arrested and Rs.15 lakh cash seized

Police Commissioner B. Shivadhar Reddy giving details of the steel diversion scam at a media conference in Visakhapatnam on Friday.— Photo: K.R. Deepak
Police Commissioner B. Shivadhar Reddy giving details of the steel diversion scam at a media conference in Visakhapatnam on Friday.— Photo: K.R. Deepak

In a major breakthrough, the City Police arrested 11 accused and seized Rs.15 lakh cash from them in the case of diversion of steel from the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP). Two more accused are absconding and an additional Rs.45 lakh is yet to be recovered in the case. Giving details to mediapersons here on Friday, Police Commissioner B. Shivadhar Reddy said CISF head constable Preman had noticed a truck trailer, loaded with steel, parked on the roadside about 1 km from the BC gate of the steel plant at 7:30 p.m. on January 27. The lorry had stickers of fake registration numbers and he concluded that the vehicle had entered the steel plant premises illegally. At that juncture, Preman received a call on his mobile from one unidentified person, who offered him a bribe of Rs.10 lakh, if he left the vehicle. He was called repeatedly and even threatened. Preman lodged a complaint at the Steel Plant police station on the next day and a case was registered. The Police Commissioner said initial investigation was conducted by Inspector C. Janardhan Singh and the case was later entrusted to a special team under Inspector M. Seshu. The team took up the investigation under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) P. Viswa Prasad and Additional DCP (Crime) Mohd. Khan.

Mr. Shivadhar Reddy said the investigation had revealed that local scrap dealers entered into a conspiracy with the connivance of four CISF personnel and one crane operator the LMM Mill of VSP. This was the third load in a single month. The first two loads were diverted by the accused without detection by the CISF. He said 9.5 MTs of steel was seized in the raids, so far.

Replying to queries, hesaid there was no prima facie evidence of the involvement of Steel Plant officials in the case. On the allegations being made by trade union leaders in this regard, he said it could be investigated if they had any specific information.

Mr. Shivadhar Reddy said cases were registered under Sections 120 (B), 406, 420, 411, 379 and 506 of the IPC against the accused.

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