IN a major drug bust, Pimpri-Chinchwad Police seized a 20-kg consignment of Mephedrone, a banned drug also known as Meow Meow, worth Rs 20 crore, and arrested five persons in connection with the drug bust from a place near Chakan in Pune district on Wednesday.
The seizure was made on Wednesday afternoon by the Anti-Narcotics Cell of Pimpri- Chinchwad Police, after receiving a tip-off that some persons were coming to Chakan with a consignment of the drug.
Pimpri Chinchwad Police Commissioner, Krishna Prakash, said, “Our officers received a tip- off about a consignment of a drug being brought via a specific route, along with some information about the car. Accordingly, a team was deployed…”.
Based on the information received, a car was intercepted near Shel Pimpalgaon village on Chakan Shikrapur Road. While searching the car, police recovered packets of a white substance, which turned out to be mephedrone.
Based on the quality of the substance, the seized consignment of 20 kg is valued at Rs 20 crore, said officials. The five persons travelling in the car were detained and were later placed under arrest.
The police chief added, “The arrested suspects were produced before a court and have been remanded to police custody for 10 days. As part of the investigation, our effort will be to zero in on the source of the contraband, the intended receivers of the consignment and the possible racket behind it. The investigation has now been handed over to a team different than the one which conducted the raid.”
The arrested suspects have been identified as Chetan Fakkad Dandawate (28), Anandgir Gosavi (25), Akshay Kale (25), Sanjeevkumar Bansi Raut (44), and Tausif Hasan Mohammad Taslim (31).
Senior officials said they were probing the possibility of an organised racket, which was involved in the production, smuggling and distribution of Meow Meow, operating across states. “Two of the arrested persons have told us that they were involved in the pharmaceutical business. The role of each of the arrested person will be thoroughly investigated,” said Krishna Prakash.
Officials said that some of the suspects were well-educated, as one of them had a degree in computer science and another a MBA. Like many cases of Mephedrone seizure in the past, police have not denied links of the racket with a chemical manufacturing facility illegally producing the contraband drug.
A case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act has been filed at the Chakan police station against the five suspects.
Major Mephedrone seizures in the past
Mephedrone, also knows as Meow Meow or ‘white magic’, is a synthetically-manufactured stimulant. In the past, police have made many seizures of large consignments of the drug, as well as small quantities from peddlers, from Pune and surrounding areas.
A common link between all these actions was that the drug was being manufactured secretly at chemical factories, which were running on the pretext of producing legal chemicals.
In January this year, the state state Anti-Terrorism Squad had raided a chemical factory in Purandar taluka of Pune district and seized 10.5 kg of Mephedrone, valued at Rs 4.2 crore, and raw chemical worth Rs 1.2 crore.
In May 2017, the Anti-Narcotics Cell of Mumbai Police, which was probing seizure of 8 kg of Mephedrone from a person arrested from Sion-Panvel road, raided a factory in Kurkumbh industrial area and seized over 100 kg of Mephedrone, worth over Rs 25 crore.
In August 2016, four persons, including a foreign national of Indian origin, were arrested by the Customs department and 159 kg of Mephedrone Hydrochloride, worth Rs 25 crore, was seized from their possession during a raid at a factory in Kurkumbh industrial area in Daund.
The difference in the value of the seized narcotics is because of differing quality of the contraband. Till early 2010s, the drug was not included in the list of banned substances under the NDPS Act. But after multiple seizures of large quantities of the drug and rising instances of its consumption in large cities, it has now been included in the list.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines