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Three held in Rs 1,500-crore heroin smuggling case of 2018

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 

The Gujarat ATS on Monday arrested three persons from different parts of Kutch district in a Rs 1,500-crore drug smuggling case of 2018 which had links to Pakistan, said officials.

Around 188kg of Pakistan-origin heroin, which landed at the Mandvi coast in Gujarat's Kutch district in August 2018 through the sea route, was sent to Amritsar in Punjab by the accused, they said.

This cache of 188kg contraband, seized in Punjab in January 2019, was part of 500kg heroin worth Rs 1,500 crore which had entered Gujarat from Pakistan through the Mandvi coast in August 2018, said the officials.

Following investigations, the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) arrested the trio, Razak Adam Sumra (from Mandvi, Karim Siraj and Sunil Barmase (both from Gandhidham in Kutch district).

The entire drug smuggling racket was busted after the Gujarat ATS seized five kg of heroin in August 2018 and arrested two people.

Initial probe had revealed it was part of a drug consignment which had entered Gujarat from Pakistan through the Mandvi coast and then transported to Punjab and other north Indian states at the behest of key accused Simranjit Singh Sandhu, a resident of Amritsar.

Sandhu was nabbed by Interpol in Italy last month after a Red Corner Notice was issued against him at the request of ATS.

A Red Corner Notice is a kind of international arrest warrant for fugitives where Interpol requests its member countries to arrest or detain them.

"During our investigation, we had suspected that the amount of drugs that landed at Mandvi could be more. In the meanwhile, the Punjab STF seized another 188kg of heroin in January 2019.

"It was revealed that the consignment was loaded in Gandhidham, which led to the arrest of the trio today," said Assistant Commissioner of Police, B H Chavda.

Their interrogation revealed a total of 500kg heroin had entered India by the sea route, he said.

"Out of the 500kg heroin which had landed, around 200kg was initially kept at Mandvi by Sumra, while 300kg was transported to Punjab by Sandhu at that time," said Chavda.

After sometime, Sumra and two others, including Siraj, managed to send the remaining 200kg haul to Punjab in Barmase's truck, he said.

Of this stock, around 188kg was seized by the Punjab police, he said.

"We are probing many other aspects of the case," said Chavda.

Gujarat and Punjab police are still to locate the 300kg heroin sent to the northern state earlier by Sandhu.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 10 2020. 21:40 IST