The two traders arrested by the J&K police after the recovery of 114 kg of brown sugar from a truck near Salamabad Uri have told interrogators that they thought the consignment carried fake currency notes and not drugs.
Since the arrest, Pakistan, which is demanding the release of the truck driver, has suspended cross-LoC trade from Uri and Poonch sectors. It is also holding 27 Indian drivers ransom at Chikoti, PoK. Officials investigating this case said the drug haul could be part of an international drug racket and the traders could have been trying to pass the consignment to their bosses outside the state.
Last month, after the recovery of 114 kg of white powder from a truck that arrived from PoK, the police detained its driver, Mohammad Shafi Awan of PoK. Later, cops also arrested two traders — Tariq Ahmad Sheikh of Baramulla and Showket Habib of Bandipore. All three are currently in police custody.
After it was confirmed that the white substance was brown sugar, police constituted a Special Investigation Team to investigate the case.
Officials said the arrested traders, to whom the consignment was heading in Kashmir, revealed that they thought the packets contained fake currency notes and they were planning to pass it on to a dealer in Amritsar. Eventually, the consignment was to reach Goa. A J&K police team is already in Amritsar, where is has conducted raids in some places.
The traders also confessed that they had made similar transactions in the past. The truck driver, meanwhile, said he had no knowledge of what was in the truck, and that he thought the bags contained almonds. But officials said the traders could be trying to evade charges related to a drug case. “The fake currency racket is a simple case, while the drugs case is a heinous crime,” said an official. “This is part of an international drug racket and it is likely that this is not the first time drugs where brought via the cross-LoC trade route.” Though the police have not filed a chargesheet yet, the traders and the driver have been booked under the NDPS Act.
The market is considered the largest cloth market in Asia and it houses a number of textile units and factories.