E-pass racket in Chennai: How the government officials invited trouble in their conspiracy?

As people living in Chennai tend to move to their hometowns amid the lockdown, acquiring e-pass from the government for their travels has become a sort of competition as the residents wish to hurriedly exit the city before any announcement from the government come to grip up the lockdown and these grounds had paved the way for a racket from the government officials to sell the pass at an exorbitant rate and the racket has been dismantled by the Chennai police and arrested five people involved behind the conspiracy.

According to the reports, the Central Crime Branch has, on Wednesday, busted the e-pass plot carried out by two government employees and three cab drivers and all five have been booked under legal grounds and arrested by the crime branch. These five people include a senior revenue inspector of the government and a junior assistant at the Chennai Collectorate and the duo had reportedly issued original e-passes to over a hundred people for Rs 2,000 per pass without scrutinizing the reason on why they are exiting the city.

These five arrested had created a WhatsApp group and the cab drivers would post in the group whenever they got a request for obtaining e-pass and upon the request, the two government officials pitched in and arranged passes for such request from people for Rs 2000 each without verifying the documents, thereby consenting their travel to other parts of the state. The reports stated that the cab drivers decided to go this way of procuring e-pass to meet the financial stress in the wake of the lockdown.

Following these cab drivers, other cab drivers had also advertised on social media after knowing that two government officials are providing the e-passes. The plot has drawn the attention of Chennai Police Commissioner AK Viswanathan. The Commissioner swung into action and approached the cab driver through the third person during which the driver told that he has been a part of the network carried out by the government employees. 

Must read: TN lockdown: E-pass must for inter-district travel, borders to close from June 25!

Based on the confession, the Central Crime Branch arrested three cab drivers and two government employees and booked under sections 420-Cheating and 269 - Negligent act to spread infection of IPC, and they have also been booked under the grounds of the Disaster Management Act and the Epidemic Diseases Act.  According to the reports, these five people belong to Chennai.

Kumaran has been a senior revenue official with the government and he belongs to Pulianthope and he was also deputed to issue the passes by inspecting the documents and reasons at Amma Maligai. The other government official was Udhayakumar, a junior assistant at the Chennai Collectorate and he belongs to MKB Nagar and three cab drivers were identified as Manoj Kumar, Devandran, and Vinoth Kumar and they belong to Selaiyur and Ambattur respectively.

According to the government, it has been issuing the e-passes online to streamline the process. People who are traveling to Tamil Nadu and carrying out inter-district travels must obtain the pass from the website launched and approved by the government and people with valid reasons and documents including medical emergencies, marriages, and deaths would be awarded e-passes. The government authorities are currently in the process of tracing the people who exited the city by acquiring these passes.

To apply for e-pass, please visit the government's approved website: https://tnepass.tnega.org/#/user/pass