Truckload of tomatoes bound for Jaipur from Karnataka goes 'missing'
A complaint has been filed with Kolar police, in which the trader has alleged that the truck was carrying tomatoes worth Rs 21 lakh
A Jaipur-bound truckload of tomatoes, a precious commodity across the country now, went missing in what is suspected to be another "heist" linked to Karnataka.
A trader has claimed that he lost touch with the driver and cleaner of his truck, which was carrying 11 tonnes of tomatoes from the district headquarters town of Kolar, en route to the Rajasthan capital. A complaint has been filed with Kolar police, in which the trader has alleged that the truck was carrying tomatoes worth Rs 21 lakh.
Representatives at Kolar Agricultural Produce Market Committee, from where the produce left, pegged the price of tomatoes at Rs 160 per kg.
Also Read: Tomato prices reach Rs 200/kg in TN
According to the complaint, the truck loaded with 750 crates left the local 'mandi' in Kolar on July 27 and the consignment was scheduled to reach its destination in Jaipur for supply to a local vegetable market there.
The truck, which was being tracked through the GPS tracking system, had apparently covered around 1,800 km since it left Kolar. The vehicle was supposed to reach its destination in Jaipur by Saturday night. But when it did not do so, the trader tried to contact the driver but his phone was switched off, a senior police officer said.
The concerned trader then filed a complaint at Kolar police station stating that the truck had gone missing.
“Based on a complaint received from one of the traders based in Kolar, we have initiated a preliminary inquiry into the matter. No FIR has been registered in the matter yet since we had to verify whether the driver had met with any accident on the way to its destination or if the tomatoes got stolen. So, an inquiry was initiated and we collected details from the complainant in the matter,” the police officer said.
The Preliminary inquiry has revealed that the huge consignment of tomatoes which was to be unloaded at Jaipur was apparently delivered at a local vegetable market in Ahmedabad, he added.
Vinay Reddy, the trader who sent the tomato consignment, said that his father Muni Reddy filed the police complaint after the truck went "missing".
“We loaded 11 tonnes of tomatoes which were packaged in 750 boxes in a truck from Kolar tomato mandi. The consignment was to be unloaded at Mohana Sabji Mandi, Jaipur by Saturday midnight. The vehicle also had an inbuilt GPS tracking system,” Vinay Reddy, owner of SVT traders, said.
Reddy said that he last spoke to the driver around 9 pm on Saturday and he had assured that by 11 pm, the consignment would reach the mandi in Jaipur.
“However, in the morning, I got to know that the consignment had not reached the market. When I tried to contact the driver, his phone was also found to be switched off. There was no other way to reach him. So, we had to approach the police here,” he said.
Reddy said he then informed his acquaintances in Jaipur and later received information from their local sources that the tomatoes had been sold at Ahmedabad.
“We suspect that these tomatoes were sold off by the driver but we still haven’t been able to get in touch with him. It has also come to notice that the same truck was not used to transport the consignment to Ahmedabad. We need to get it verified,” he said.
Reddy said that the consignment belonged to three parties and that they were also likely to reach Ahmedabad and file a complaint at the local police station there as well.
Earlier this month, tomatoes worth Rs 2.5 lakh were stolen from a farm in Goni Somanahalli village in Belur taluk of Karnataka’s Hassan district. Thieves allegedly decamped with 50-60 bags of tomatoes from a woman farmer's agricultural field, following which a case of theft was lodged at the Halebeedu police station.
In another such incident, a couple from neighbouring Tamil Nadu was arrested by the police for hijacking a truck laden with 2.5 tonnes of tomatoes in Bengaluru after faking an accident to extort money.
According to the police, the couple was part of a gang of highway robbers that intercepted Mallesh, a farmer from Hiriyur in Chitradurga district, at Chikkajala on July 8. They demanded money claiming that the farmer’s truck had bumped into their car.
The farmer was transporting tomatoes in his Mahindra Bolero jeep to Kolar. When he refused to pay them, the miscreants assaulted him, pushed him out of the truck and drove away with the vehicle loaded with 2.5 tonnes of tomatoes.
Based on the complaint lodged by the farmer, the RMC Yard police tracked the movement of the vehicle and zeroed in on the gang.