GS Paul in Amritsar
SUCH moments come rarely in the career of Customs officials. June 29, 2019 is etched in the annals of the Amritsar office, when 532 kg of heroin and other narcotic substances — concealed in a rock salt consignment from Pakistan — was seized at the Integrated Check Post on the Attari-Wagah border.
- Afghan heroin via Pak to Gujarat, then Punjab, hidden in spices
- House that turned out to be a drug factory
- Sea corridor new smuggling route
- Physical re-mapping done, surveillance up on borders
The consignment from Lahore-based firm Global Vision Impex was meant for Amritsar importer Gurpinder Singh Babbar. He died under mysterious circumstances in police custody on July 21. His interrogation had led to the arrest of Handwara-based Tariq Ahmad Lone and others.
Six months after the National Investigation Agency took over the case on August 22, the architects of this narco-terror nexus on either side of the border remain out of reach.
The mastermind has been identified as Sahil Khan, also known as Musa Khan, who is said to enjoy immunity because of his political and bureaucratic links in Pakistan. His accomplices include Farooq Lone and Amir Noor.
On the Indian side, the kingpin is said to be Ranjit Singh alias Cheeta from Havellian village in Sarai Amanat Khan, Tarn Taran, who resided on Ram Tirath Road. His brother Balwinder Singh, alias Billa, was arrested by the Punjab Police Special Task Force.
Investigations by Amritsar police and Customs suggested that Gurpinder was in touch with Amir Noor and ordered the rock salt consignment from Global Impex. Noor got him connected with Lone in Kashmir. It was Lone’s second consignment of rock salt from the Lahore firm. A Customs’ official, preferring anonymity, said raids were conducted at all places where the first consignment was delivered, but nothing objectionable was found.
Cheeta, through local transporter Jasbir Singh, was supposed to pick up the narcotics that reached in the garb of rock salt from Gurpinder.
The NIA filed a chargesheet in the special designated court on December 27 against 11 accused, including four Pakistan nationals, and four firms: Kanishk Enterprises Pvt Ltd, Gupta Fast Forwarders Pvt Ltd, Global Vision Impex and Aimex General Trading Company.
NIA investigations established an international conspiracy in which nationals of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India belonging to Punjab, J&K and Delhi formed a gang to bring consignments of narcotics to India. They appeared to be carrying out a vast network of hawala and terror-funding activities.
60,000 evacuees to return home by Thursday morning
Brings Ordinance to promote barrier-free interstate, intra-s...
Govt to run demo classes in 4 or 5 schools of the state in c...
Media reports emanating from China indicate that PLA troops ...