The anti-narcotics cell of Pune Police Crime Branch on Friday arrested five persons including a drug supplier for allegedly possessing 1.45 kg brown sugar worth Rs 21.8 lakh. The value of the seized narcotics substance in international market is believed to be Rs 1.25 crore. Police sources suspect that the seized brown sugar was for mainly college students.
The suspects have been identified as Rajkumar Muttuswami Devender (51) of Sion,Mumbai,Raju Vyanket Kharpade (30),Kiran Shivaji Kuchekar (22),Rasool Mehboob Shaikh (41),all from Patil estate slums in Shivajinagar and Jafar Abdul Shaikh (29) of Pune station footpath and a native of Hubli,Karnataka.
A police team led by inspector Sunil Tambe nabbed the suspects near Sangamwadi bridge around 11 am on Friday. Police said that Devender and Kharpade were held while handing over the brown sugar to the other three.
Police,however,recovered only Rs 1,600 worth brown sugar from them during searches. Police suspect that they had plans to do the money transactions through hawala racketeers. A case has been registered with the Yerwada police.
Suspects Kharpade and Shaikh are history sheeters. Kharpade had earlier been arrested from Hadapsar area for possessing 260 gm brown sugar worth Rs 2.6 lakh. Shaikh was previously arrested from Shivajinagar with possession of 58 gm brown sugar worth Rs 63,000, deputy commissioner Sanjay Shinde said at a press conference. Additional commissioner of police (crime) Shahji Solunkhe said investigation is on to trace the roots of the brown sugar racket in Pune. Police are also probing
whether suspects,particularly Devendar is related to any international crime syndicate or terror outfits. In 2011,Pune police had seized 2.434 kg brown sugar. While the seizure in 2012,till July,is 2.439 gm.
The details of end customers buying brown sugar is also being probed. It is suspected that the brown sugar market in Pune has grown. Local drug peddlers sell brown sugar in pouches of 1 gm costing between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,500 depending on the quality and type of customer.