Various brands of the banned pan masala worth more than Rs.5 lakh was seized by the police attached to the Kollam East police station from a warehouse at Chamakada in the city on Tuesday. One person, identified as Pradeep Kumar, 24, was arrested in this connection. It was in the wake of a drive against banned tobacco products launched by City Police Commissioner Debesh Kumar Behera last week in connection with the World Cancer Day that the police squad got a tip off that pan masala and related substances continued to be sold on the sly in the city.

A police team led by Assistant Police Commissioner B. Krishna Kumar had been maintaining vigil in this connection since the past three days and two retailers were nabbed for selling the banned products. When they were questioned about the source of supply they spilled the beans about Pradeep Kumar.

Sub inspector G. Gopakumar said that Pradeep was a major wholesaler of the banned tobacco products and that he received supplies from Tamil Nadu. More than 25,000 sachets of the banned tobacco products were seized from his warehouse. These were brought to the city concealed in trucks bringing in vegetables and groceries from the neighbouring State.

Mr. Gopakumar said that Pradeep used to supply the products to a good number of retailers from Kadakkal to Karunagapally at five to 10 times the price at which he made the purchase.

Pradeep will be produced in court on Wednesday.

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