PIMPRI-Chinchwad Police have arrested the 21st suspect in the Mephedrone production and distribution ring unearthed in October. The suspect from Nashik, who has contested civic polls in the past, had allegedly not only procured drugs from racketeers but was helping them arrange for lawyers, with the drug money received from them.
In the drug bust conducted on October 7, police had seized 20 kg of contraband substance Mephedrone, also known as meow meow, worth Rs 20 crore in international markets, and had arrested five persons from a place near Chakan in Pune district. The subsequent probe unearthed a major narcotic production and distribution ring, and revealed that Mephedrone worth over Rs 130 crore was manufactured at a biotech company premises in Ranjangaon.
The nine more racketeers arrested by police included a man with a criminal record, who had links with the Chhota Rajan gang, and a Nigerian national who handled the distribution part of the ring.
Over the last week of November and the first week of December, police arrested six more suspects, including a chemist known among the racketeers as ‘doctor’, who imparted training in manufacturing the drugs, as well as people who ensured supply of raw chemicals.
The latest arrest in the case is that of a 32-year-old man identified as Lalit Patil from Nashik. At the time of the arrest, police seized cash of Rs 25 lakh from his possession. Patil has been remanded to police custody till Tuesday.
A police official said Patil has not only procured drugs from the racketeers in the past, but also received Rs 65 lakh from four of the suspects arrested in the case earlier to arrange lawyers for them, and to try and strike deals with officials. The cash of Rs 25 lakh recovered from him is the amount from Rs 65 lakh of drug money he received earlier, said police.
A police official said Patil has contested the Nashik civic polls in the past and has also been an aspirant for an assembly seat in Nashik.
Among those arrested earlier are the alleged kingpins of the racket — Tushar Kale and Rakesh Khaniwadekar alias Rocky. Police have said Kale has links with the Chhota Rajan gang while Khaniwadekar is a drugs racketeer wanted by the Narcotics Control Bureau in connection with other drugs cases. The arrested Nigerian national was allegedly looking after bulk distribution of the manufactured contraband.
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