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17th arrest in case: Nigerian man held

An officer said that a commercial quantity of mephedrone was found on Chinedu Igwe, who will soon be arrested. The NCB said it has seized 40 tablets (15 gm) of Ecstasy from him.

This brings the total arrests in the case to 17.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), investigating the cruise drug bust case, on Thursday arrested a Nigerian national from Andheri for allegedly supplying narcotics to those arrested with drugs on the ship.

An officer said that a commercial quantity of mephedrone was found on Chinedu Igwe, who will soon be arrested. The NCB said it has seized 40 tablets (15 gm) of Ecstasy from him.

This brings the total arrests in the case to 17.

Prior to Igwe, the NCB had arrested Aachit Kumar (22) on Wednesday on charges of peddling. The NCB has claimed that Kumar, who was produced before the court on Thursday, was arrested with 2.6 gm of ganja, following a search of his residence in Powai.

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NCB’s Special Public Prosecutor Advait Sethna told the court that Kumar was part of a “ganja trafficking network” and had earlier supplied ganja to Aryan Khan and Arbaaz Merchant.

Kumar is said to have been arrested after Aryan named him in his statement on Sunday. Aryan later also filed an application retracting the statement, said the officer.

In its remand plea, the NCB has claimed that Kumar was involved in ganja dealings in Mumbai and the leads — names of others who have come up in the drug supply link — need to be probed.

Kumar’s lawyer Ashwin Thool told the court that five NCB officers had searched Kumar’s residence on October 5. He was taken to the NCB office around 5 pm and was under detention since then.

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Thool argued that this amounted to illegal custody, as the NCB only produced him in court on Thursday.

“The NCB has claimed that I am part of a ganja trafficking network while recovery of 2.6 gm of charas is alleged to have been made from me. If I am part of such a network, I would be harbouring drugs. I am making a responsible statement before the court that the NCB has lied in its documents and kept me in illegal custody. For two days, I have been in custody and the NCB has already confronted me with accused number 1 (Aryan) and my phone and chats are already with the agency,” Thool said on Kumar’s behalf.

Maintaining that Kumar’s custodial interrogation was necessary, the court sent him to NCB custody till October 9. Another defence lawyer told the court that while Kumar is linked to the cruise case, the drug recoveries do not include ganja.

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Meanwhile, Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil on Thursday announced that designated anti-narcotics cells will come up in every police commissionerate and district across Maharashtra.

First published on: 08-10-2021 at 03:30 IST
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