(District-North 24 Parganas)
On 8rh February, 2022 under the South Bengal Frontier, Smugglers are once again trying to be active in smuggling as soon as trade resumes after the end of the standoff on international trade between India and Bangladesh at ICP Petrapole. They are making every effort to smuggle but BSF troops are carrying out their duty with excellence. The jawans are constantly thwarting the plans of the smugglers. Today on 08th February, 2022 at ICP Petrapole at about 1515 hrs, troops of 179 Battalion apprehended an Indian truck driver red-handed on the basis of reliable inputs. Huge amount of foreign currency was recovered from the truck driver.
Based on credible inputs received, on 08th February, 2022, the jawans of 179 Battalion, Sector Kolkata undertook a special vehicle checking operation inside ICP Petrapole. At about 1515 hrs the search team intercepted a suspicious truck (Reg. No. WB 23 B 0737) carrying export goods from India to Bangladesh near the railway crossing in the presence of a BSF gazetted officer, company commander and other independent witnesses and the driver. During the search, three packets wrapped in white tape along with newspaper were found hidden near the fuel tank of the truck. As a result, foreign currency of US$ 30,000 was recovered on opening the recovered packets. The total value of the seized foreign currency, truck and the goods (grapes) loaded in it was estimated at Rs. 46,03,455/-. Border Security Force troops soon seized the truck and also took the truck driver into custody for questioning.
The apprehended truck driver identified himself as Amal Mandal, age 25, S/o Biswanath Mandal, village and Post Office Jaleswar, PS Gaighata, District North 24 Parganas, West Bengal.
In the preliminary interview, he revealed that he is an Indian national and works as a truck driver inside Petrapole Union and regularly travels to Bangladesh (Benapole) carrying export goods. He named the owner of the truck as Sanjay Paul resident of India. He revealed that at 1500 hrs today, he was leaving for Bangladesh carrying export goods (grapes) from Sardar Parking at Petrapole. He further revealed that at the same time Riyaz Mandal, the supervisor of Sardar Parking, had given him three packets which were to be given to a Bangladeshi citizen named Khonkhan Sheikh at Benapole. He was to get 500 rupees for this work, but before reaching the export cargo complex, the BSF apprehended him with the three packets containing US currency.
When the documents of the seized truck were checked by the BSF, it was found that the truck was purchased on 15th September 2006 and thus, it has outlived its utility of running in the road after completion of 15 years of life. Apart from this, the truck driver was found having license to drive a light vehicle (LMV) while he was driving a heavy vehicle. Therefore, during the investigation, all documents were found to be forgedor expired. Apart from this, the documents of the smoke pollution of the truck were also not present. It was found in the investigation that even after the expiry of the registration of the said truck, vehicle insurance was valid till January 27, 2023. Thus there was complete violation of Central Motor Vehicle Rules by the vehicle owner and the truck driver.
The apprehend truck driver along with the seized items has been handed over to the Customs Office Petrapole for further legal action.
The Public Relations Officer of South Bengal Frontier stated that the customs officials have been informed in detail about the incident. The Border Security Force and other stakeholder agencies are fully committed to preventing smuggling in Petrapole under the guise of import and export vehicles and personal belongings of passengers. The BSF troops are constantly keeping a watch on the miscreants having malafide intentions to carry out cross-border crime through ICP Petrapole, the official stated. He further stated that we will continue to foil every attempt of the smugglers.