The Special Task Force (STF) of Punjab Police on Wednesday arrested former Subordinate Services Board (SSB) member Anwar Masih in connection with the massive heroin haul from his house in Sultanwind village on January 31.
Masih had been under investigation since 197 kg of heroin was seized from his residence.
Booked under the NDPS Act, he was produced in court and remanded to two days’ police custody, said STF chief Harpreet Singh Sidhu.
On the day the drugs were recovered, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had claimed in a Facebook post that a former Subordinate Service Selection Board member appointed by the erstwhile Akali regime had also been arrested. He had edited the post later, removing the mention of Masih.
“Masih was appointed as an SSB member by the previous Akali-BJP regime. He had also been an active member of Akali Dal and is said to be close to several party bigwigs,” read the STF press note.
The house in Akash Vihar, Sultanwind, where an illegal laboratory was discovered, was registered in Masih’s name. Though Masih had claimed that he had rented out the house to the six accused who were arrested from the spot, he had failed to produce any written rent agreement and the people of the area were also unaware of any tenants living there. Investigations had also revealed that Masih’s house was being used by the accused for refining and manufacturing drugs for over a month before the racket was busted.
“Despite being given time to prove the tenancy of his property, Masih could not come up with any documents to show that he had rented out the premises after due diligence, as claimed by him. On Wednesday, when he again failed to show any tenancy papers during questioning, the STF Amritsar arrested him. Masih had also not got the tenant verification done, as per law, and this was a factor in assessing his intentions,” said the press note.
Meanwhile, though ATS Gujarat has already initiated proceedings for extradition of Simranjit Singh Sandhu, one of the biggest drug mafiosi of the country, from Italy, Punjab STF is also preparing to move for the same.
A PTI report said a money exchanger had also been arrested in connection with the case.
The money exchanger was identified as Harnit Singh alias Honey, who has an office in Landa Bazaar. He was arrested for allegedly receiving Rs 75 lakh from an accused in the drug haul case, an official of the anti-drug STF said.
According to investigations conducted by the STF, Harnit was allegedly given Rs 75 lakh by an accused in the drug haul case, Ankush Kapoor, the official said, according to the PTI report.
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