Tamil Nadu police recover stolen property worth Rs.14.75 bn (Lead)

June 17th, 2008 - 8:51 am ICT by IANS  

By T.S.V. Hari and K.M. Thomas
Chennai, June 16 (IANS) Cracking down on white collar crime, the Tamil Nadu police have recovered stolen movable and immovable property worth Rs.14.75 billion. “Property and assets amounting to Rs.1,475 crore (Rs.14.75 billion) chiselled from the public by dubious finance companies were seized. Of this, Rs.931.39 crore (Rs.9.31 billion) have been already recovered,” R. Natraj, additional director general of police (Economic Offences Wing), said, giving statistics of recoveries from white-collar criminals.

“We are, however, not resting on these laurels. Efforts are underway to recover stolen wealth worth Rs.997 crore (Rs.9.97 billion),” Natraj told IANS.

The Chennai police improved upon their record since R. Sekar was appointed city police commissioner May 31.

“Our vigil against developing crimes has improved. We have apprehended a cheat attempting to produce a film with money stolen from jewellers, resulting in prevention of a crime worth over Rs.7 crore (Rs.70 million) through the seizure of over 150 fake international credit cards,” Sekar said.

“We are also on the lookout for currency counterfeiting gangs following discovery of small amounts of fake notes,” he said.

Measures to curb street crimes are under way to prevent smuggling of weapons, liquor, movements of externees and antisocial elements.

Over 1,500 people with questionable antecedents were arrested Saturday night in a sudden swoop led by Sekar and are awaiting judicial review. Even vehicles with government markings were stopped for a vigorous check, Sekar pointed out.

The same day, smaller alleged cheats from northern India were apprehended while attempting to dupe a businessman to the tune of Rs.5 million at the Elephant Gate, near the main rail terminal.

“The accused used a clever ploy - employing a 65-year-old woman accessory, spun a yarn about a treasure trove worth Rs.1 crore (Rs.10 million) and demanded an “advance” of Rs.50 lakh (Rs.5 million) from a businessman,” Sekar added.

During the last 45 days, properties worth over Rs.3.5 billion were impounded from a multi-level marketing company.

Elsewhere in Tamil Nadu, other law enforcing agencies buttressed Saturday’s endeavour.

Nine Sri Lankan sea-poachers were caught at sea by Coast Guard officials in Tirunelveli district, 600 km south of here, with a one tonne catch and 3,000 liters of diesel. They were being questioned by the state’s criminal investigation department’s Q Branch, according to an official statement.

Despite these successes, there are a few not-so-flattering blips.

For instance, there is no end in sight of the politicised 12-day-old murder case of MGR-relative Vijayan who was done to death publicly. The matter was transferred from the city police to the Crime Branch of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) under the supervision of Director General of Police K.P. Jain.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, who holds the home portfolio, is miffed over verbal assaults of PMK founder S. Ramadoss on the issue of eavesdropping on telephone conversations of opposition politicians and journalists and he has indicated a rethink on the constitution of the Democratic Progressive Alliance - a rainbow of parties that prop up his regime.

A ticklish issue under investigation is the discovery of over two tonnes of explosives in an industrial estate in the northern outskirts of here.

IANS enquiries revealed metal scrap imports in excess of over 3,000 tonnes a month through the Chennai port remain an enigma.

The trade is worth at least Rs.1,500 crore (Rs.15 billion) a year at the rate of approximately $200 per tonne - the average price of steel scrap imports. They also include recyclable metal parts - which can arguably produce ordnance for use in India and neighbouring Sri Lanka,” said a police source.

“This commerce also entails smuggling of discarded automobile engines that are fitted into stolen cars here whose annual outlay is almost Rs.350 crore (Rs.3.5 billion),” the source added.

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