532-kg heroin haul: Kingpin out of reach

Customs officials had recovered the consignment hidden in rock salt imported from Lahore

532-kg heroin haul: Kingpin out of reach

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.


Read also: 

Challenges in Punjab's fight against drugs

  • Use of drones/UAVs for drug smuggling
  • Concealing in farm/construction equipment, throwing through pipes
  • New routes and sources of drugs
  • Use of social media and OTT apps for delivery
  • Narco-terror and narco-gangster nexus
  • Gangster-smuggler nexus
  • Many involved in smuggling of liquor/traditional drugs have now shifted to smuggling of heroin and pharmaceutical drugs
  • Proliferation of locally manufactured

    synthetic drugs

  • Banned/prescription drugs now being used

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.

Top Stories

Mumbai escapes Nisarga’s fury; cyclone shows signs of weakening

Mumbai escapes Nisarga’s fury; cyclone shows signs of weakening

60,000 evacuees to return home by Thursday morning

Cabinet approves amendment to Essential Commodities Act

Cabinet approves amendment to Essential Commodities Act

Brings Ordinance to promote barrier-free interstate, intra-s...

Haryana to start schools from July; colleges, universities from August

Haryana to start schools from July; colleges, universities from August

Govt to run demo classes in 4 or 5 schools of the state in c...

China preparing for infiltration behind enemy lines amidst standoff in Ladakh

China preparing for infiltration behind enemy lines amidst standoff in Ladakh

Media reports emanating from China indicate that PLA troops ...

Cities

View All