The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on Monday made fresh arrests in the alleged smuggling of Rs 1,000-crore heroin from Afghanistan to Mumbai via the Chabahar port in Iran. The arrests of Sarvesh Bhatia, an importer, Mohammaed Numan, a middleman, and logistic provider Mahendra Nigam from Delhi comes a day after 191 kg of heroin was seized from Nhava Sheva Port. All three were brought to Mumbai on Monday.
The investigators are trying to ascertain the exact number of consignments the smugglers brought into the city as they have confessed to undertaking similar operations for the last one year. Sources said the agency has identified several other entities and individuals in connection with the case and is in the process of recording their statements. The probe has found the smuggled drug was meant for distribution in India.
Late on Saturday, a Customs official came across the mis-declared consignment, when he started inspecting them. He found orange gunny bags in which wooden barks were stored. Checked further, officials found green coloured pipes in which the banned drug was concealed. Further tests confirmed the cream colour powder was heroin.
Officials said in order to mislead authorities, the drug was sealed in painted plastic pipes that looked like bamboo sticks and declared as a herb.
Accordingly, DRI was informed following which 191 kg heroin was seized from Nhava Sheva port and two Customs house agents, Meenanath Bodake and Kondibhau Gunjal, who had documented the import, were arrested under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act.
Sources said Numan was a close aide of Bhatia, who owns an import firm in Delhi. Numan also had good terms with Gunjal. Gunjal and Bodake were responsible for getting the consignments cleared and transporting them to Numan. Investigators said Bhatia was previously arrested and convicted for importing banned drugs into the city.
Officials said this is the biggest drug haul in Maharashtra in recent years and believe more people are involved in the syndicate.
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