July 6, 2021 12:47:29 am
Expanding its probe into the 293-kg heroin haul at the Mumbai port, the Amritsar unit of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the Punjab Police are now scrutinising businesses and properties owned by Tarn Taran trader Prabhjit Singh (25), the main accused arrested in the case on Friday last week.
On Monday, a Mumbai court remanded Prabhjit to DRI custody till July 12. The agency has also arrested two associates of Singh in Indore.
The DRI said its Amritsar unit had arrested Prabhjit Singh, owner of Sandhu Export of Tarn Taran in Punjab, after it seized over 293 kg of heroin concealed in six gunny bags at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in a joint action with the customs on July 2.
The containers carrying heroin originated from Afghanistan and entered India through Chabahar Port in Iran. The cargo, DRI said, was declared as semi-processed talc stones.
“On examination, each container was found to contain around 350 gunny bags. In 6 gunny bags (3 in each container) creamish white substance of slightly rough texture was found, which was visibly different from the declared cargo of semi-processed talc stones found in the other gunny bags which was pure white and of fine texture. These 6 gunny bags of similar weight and having slightly different marks and sieve pattern were found concealed at different locations inside the containers. On testing with drug detection kit, the substance in all these 6 gunny bags was found to be heroin,” said the DRI.
The agency added: “A total of 293.81 kg of heroin was recovered from the six gunny bags, and seized under the provisions of the NDPS Act, 1985. It is estimated that the value of this contraband consignment of heroin would be over Rs 2000 crore in the international illicit market.”
Meanwhile revealing details of their investigation into the case, Punjab Police sources said that Prabhjit’s family had only four acres of land till few years back, but had now amassed significant wealth.
They added that for the last four years, Prabhjit had been running an agriculture items store, and also importing talc and gypsum from Pakistan via Attari-Wagah border till it was open for trade. Since trade was suspended from this trade route, he shifted to the sea channel via Iran.
“We have come to know that he has at least four big houses in the Tarn Taran . He also has links with a notorious drug smuggling family from village Dhun Dhai Wala in Tarn Taran. He had turned influential in recent years and a known religious leader was also visiting his house,” said a Punjab Police official.
Police, however, is silent on the political links of the Prabhjit. Sources claimed that Prabhjit was close to an influential political leader and used to fund a political party.
A villager from Chohla Sahib, Prabhjit’s native village, said: “Prabhjit’s family went from rags to riches in no time. We never suspected that he would be into drug business. We thought that he was making money from the agricultural store. But now the village is surprised.”
Police also suspects involvement of a big player in the drug business in the entire operation.
Sources said that officials would need to establish the link between Prabhjit and the recovered drugs to prove him guilty.
“He can only be convicted if the entire network is busted,” said a police official.
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