Kollam: A CPM leader's bid to distance himself from the accused persons in the recent Karunagappally tobacco smuggling case has fallen flat.
A Shanavas, chairman of the welfare standing committee of the Alappuzha Municipality and member of the CPM area committee, had claimed that he didn't know them. But a photograph showing Shanavas with the accused Ijas has come to light.
The photograph was taken during the birthday celebrations in Alappuzha. The birthday bash took place four days before the accused was arrested for smuggling the tobacco products. The district secretariat of the party will inquire into the incident.
Shanavas, who is under the cloud of suspicion, has given an explanation in the area committee meeting.
Banned tobacco products worth Rs 1 crore that were being smuggled in lorries were seized at Karunagappally last Sunday. A total number of 1,27,410 packets of tobacco products were found in the consignment.
The contraband that was packed in sacks and boxes, was hidden inside the heap of onion bags. The lorry is owned by Shanavas.
Shanavas had claimed that the lorry was leased out to P S Jayan of Kattappana on January 6. The police have issued show cause notices to Shanavas and owners of others vehicles from which the intoxicants were seized. The accused have stated that the tobacco products were brought from another state.
A Ansar, a native of Alappuzha, is the owner of the second vehicle. The police have arrested three more persons who are thought to be the kingpins behind the racket.
Ijas (27), of Sea View ward, Alappuzha; Sajjad (28) of Vellakinar, Alappuzha; and Shamir (39) of Puthentheruvil, Karunagappally, were the persons arrested. The accused, who were produced in court, were remanded.