After a series of reports carried out by the Free Press Journal (FPJ) highlighting the easy availability of banned gutkha in the city, a citizen who read FPJ reports, tipped off the Nehru Nagar police about a Kurla-based godown where gutkha was being stored. The tip-off turned out to be authentic which led the police to a huge commercial quantity of gutkha worth over Rs14.43 lakh.
During the raid, the police caught two men red-handed, who were inside the godown. They were immediately arrested by the police for illegal possession of banned gutkha for the purpose of selling and distributing. They are identified as Shivkumar Jingar, 35, and Harish Jingar, 37. The godown is based in the Thakkar Bappa Colony area, which is well known for its wholesale and retail markets.
Further investigation into the case revealed that both the arrested accused are just the tip of the iceberg in this racket. It is expected that more people are involved in the business and to find more about the alleged racket, the probe in the case is on, said the Nehru Nagar police.
A case has been registered by the police in this matter, against the two arrested men, under sections 328 (administering a stupefying drug with intent to cause hurt), 272 (adulterating food or drink intended for sale, so as to make the same noxious), 273 (selling any food or drink as food and drink, knowing the same to be noxious) and 34 (common intent) of the Indian Penal Code.
In the series conducted by FPJ, our reporters went to several pan and cigarette shops across the city to find out about the availability of the banned gutkha, which was banned by the state government in the year 2012. By order, consumption, production, sale, distribution and storage of gutkha, pan masala, and related products are banned. However, most of the shops that FPJ visited had displayed gutka pouches openly, for sale. More so, it is also sold in close vicinity to railway stations, schools, colleges and even near police stations.
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