More than 350 kg of heroin stated to be worth around Rs 700 crore was destroyed at a private incinerator by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Chandigarh zonal office, in Balyali village (near Sector 75) on Thursday.
The destroyed heroin was seized in 38 cases registered in the region, mostly in Punjab, in the last 13 years. After obtaining permission from the courts and the requisite clearances from the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), the drugs were incinerated under the supervision of a high-level committee including the NCB Deputy Director General (Northern Region) Rajender Pal Singh.
Along with 351.07 kg heroin, 5.88 kg charas (marijuana) and 100 grams of opium were also disposed off. The seized drugs were brought from the NCB’s malkhana to M/s Rainbow Environment Pvt Ltd in Balyali in the morning and destroyed after weighing them. Sources said that it was only around one-third of the drugs lying as case property with the NCB. The agency had last carried out an incineration in September 2012, said NCB Zonal Director Kaustubh Sharma.
Officials said that once a case is registered, the seized drugs are produced in court, after which an application is submitted seeking destruction of the drug, which may be allowed pre-trial or post-trial, depending upon the case.
Out of 38 cases related to the destroyed drugs, a few cases were registered in 2001 and 2002 while most were registered in 2012 and 2013. The committee formed to supervise the proceedings included DDG Singh; Zonal Director Sharma; Deputy Director, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Amritsar Amandeep Singh; and Chandigarh Police DSP (Crime) Jagbir Singh.
Interacting with the media, DDG Singh said, “After obtaining permission from various courts, the drugs are being destroyed and disposed off. The monetary value of heroin or any other illegal drug is hard to say as there is no fixed price nor any fixed market, but different agencies use different criteria for arriving at a figure. According to the NCB, 1 kg heroin is worth around Rs 2 crore in the international market.”
Another official said, “The state police agencies usually exaggerate this figure to make the seizures look important. For example, the Delhi police says that 1 kg is worth Rs 4.5 crore while the Punjab police claims it to be Rs 5 crore per kg. In any case, arriving at a figure is hard because each consignment of heroin is repeatedly adulterated and sold multiple times at various places.
For instance, if A sells opium with 10% purity to B, B will adulterate it to double the quantity having 5% purity. He will then further sell it, making double the profit, and the supply chain will go on.”
After the heroin was weighed, it was put into the incinerator in lots and the whole process took around three hours. Officials said that the opium and charas is disposed off by sending it to the Opium and Alkaloid Works (OAW), an Indian government-owned company located in Ghazipur (UP) and Neemuch (MP), where it is used in medicines.