Bangalore buses come under police, Intelligence scanner

via Pioneer News Service | Kozhikode published on March 2, 2008

The Kerala Police has stepped up the inspection of luxury buses plying between Bangalore and various centres in the State following the recent seizures of huge amounts of hawala money, which were being smuggled through this route.

Central Intelligence officials also have intensified investigation into the role of these buses in the smuggling of money after tip-offs from Banaglore that some of these vehicles have been used to ferry even explosives into Kerala.

There are reports that this route is being used for carrying unidentified baggage into destinations in Kerala and in most of the cases, the bus companies and staff are allowing unaccompanied baggage. There are reports that these examinations could lead to some major rackets and the Intelligence officials now feel that some rackets could be using the services of some luxury buses either with the support of the bus owners or the bus workers.

The police are learnt to have got some tips that certain organisations are using this route which is considered relatively easy as far as smuggling is concerned. Inspection of these buses is generally for namesake as most of the buses pass the check-posts by midnight. As the passengers including women and children would be fast asleep, officers at the check-posts generally keep themselves off from conducting thorough examinations in the buses and most often baggage checks do not take place.

This fact also serves as an encouraging aspect for those who use these buses for smuggling articles including money. At least, half a dozen huge hauls of hawala money have so far been made by officials from the Bangalore route alone.

The IB has swung into action after the arrest of Yahya Khan, a Keralite engineer from Bangalore for his connection with banned Islamist organization SIMI (Students’ Islamic Movement of India).

A police official said that the personnel at check-points normally did not press for thorough examinations as there was a general belief that those who traveled on this route, especially on luxury buses, were professionals, particularly in the IT sector. But the very fact that Yahya Khan from Kozhikode was such a professional, has served as an eye-opener for the police, he said.

The several arrests of hawala money carriers on this route and the consistent failure of the law-enforcers to find bust the racket have also resulted in the intensification of the raids on the luxury buses as huge sums of money is being transferred through this route.

Police, Enforcement and the Income Tax officials admit that almost all the arrests made were only on the basis of clear tip-offs from either rival gangs or those within the gang, who wanted to cut to size a leader.

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