The Central Crime Branch (CCB) sleuths have busted an e-pass racket in the city and arrested five persons, including two government staffers, for issuing e-passes to travel without verification.
The accused were identified as M Udayakumar (34) of MKB Nagar, a Junior Assistant at Chennai Collectorate and E Kumaran (35) of Pulianthope, a senior revenue inspector who is now in charge of approving e-pass applications after scrutinising the supporting documents at Amma Maligai. The other three accused — A Manojkumar (31) of Selaiyur, R Vinothkumar (32) of Ambattur, M Devendran (33) of Ambattur — are cab drivers.
A senior official with CCB said Vinothkumar was known to the junior assistant and the latter approached the revenue inspector to get the job done. “The drivers were part of a WhatsApp group for drivers in Chennai. Whoever gets a customer request for a vehicle will post the customer’s details in the group and Vinoth would get the e-pass for them with mere Aadhaar proof,” said the official. The customers have been charged Rs 2,000 for each passes apart from the travel fare. The official said they are also probing whether the gang has issued any fake passes.
While Chennai Corporation only issues pass to people coming from other places to the city, the drivers managed to convince the police at checkpoints that they will be returning the same day. “Since the passes are original, police have been considerate, which the offenders exploited,” he said, highlighting the loophole in the e-pass verification by police on the ground.
Based on a tip-off, CCB sleuths investigated the matter and nabbed the offenders. The accused have been booked under Sections 269 and 3 of Epidemic Diseases act, 51 of Disaster Management Act and 420 of IPC and remanded in judicial custody. Further investigation is on to find out whether any other government staffer has been involved in the crime.