Punjab Police’s anti-drug STF has been left baffled by Customs Department’s decision of not seeking remand of the two arrested accused in the 533 kg drug haul at the Attari-Wagah border. Both the accused — Amritsar importer Gurpinder Singh and Kashmiri salt trader Tarik Ahmad Lone — were sent into judicial custody on Monday.
The STF’s Additional IGP, Rashpal Singh, confirmed to The Indian Express that they had approached customs officials for interrogation from the accused.
“I along with Narcotics Control Bureau IG had gone to customs officials and we had requested them to allow us to interrogate from the accused. They told us that they would take remand of both accused from the court and after that, we will be allowed to interrogate. But then it is their case and they didn’t seek remand of the accused and we cannot do much into it as it was their decision,” said IGP Rashpal Singh.
He added, “Now we are seeking legal advice to know if we can bring both the accused on production warrant. We want to know the final destination of this big consignment. There must be nexus in place for the sale of this heroin in market.”
Another government agency official said, “It was pure luck of customs that they got their hand on such a big consignment. They had no prior information. Definitely, they want to project it as their big success. But the recovery of heroin is not enough till we unearth the nexus involved in its sale. At the same time, we also need to know how such a huge quantity reached Attari. There must be men working in Pakistan and Afghanistan to bring it to the Attari.”
There have been unconfirmed reports that the heroin was detected by the scanners installed by Pakistan and truck was put on hold for two days, however, it was released later.
“We are surprised the way customs officials have been behaving. Why didn’t they take remand of accused? How can they know everything in a few hours for which accused was with them after the arrest. They caught the consignment. They should have allowed other government agencies to interrogate the accused because Customs is not well equipped to break that nexus on the ground and it is also not their job. It is for police and other agencies to crack the nexus,” said an anti-drugs agency official.
Officials from the customs department did not respond to queries. “Initial hours are very important to extract crucial information. Customs has already wasted those hours. Now the accused will be ready to face other government agencies,” said source in a central intelligence agency.