PK Jaiswar in Amritsar
Till the raid by Punjab Police’s Special Task Force on January 31, there was nothing odd about the plush house in Akash Vihar in Sultanwind village. Now, it may well be the most discussed address in Amritsar.
The seizure was mind-boggling — over 450 kg of narcotic material, including 194 kg of heroin, making it the second highest drug seizure following confiscation of 532 kg of heroin by the Customs at Wagah last year.
- Afghan heroin via Pak to Gujarat, then Punjab, hidden in spices
- Sea corridor new smuggling route
- 532-kg heroin haul: Kingpin out of reach
- Physical re-mapping done, surveillance up on borders
This was for the first time that an illicit drug manufacturing unit was unearthed in Punjab, and also the first time that an Afghan national was arrested for refining drugs.
Owned by Akali leader Anwar Masih, the house earlier housed a spray pump factory at the back. Masih claimed he never lived in the house and had rented it out to Sukhwinder Singh and Ankush Kapoor some time ago.
The STF landed at the house following the interrogation of Ankush, a cloth trader and “key operative” of the gang. Ankush was nabbed after his name figured during the interrogation of Sukhbir Singh alias Happy, who was caught with 6 kg of heroin just days prior to the raid.
The drugs were dumped in the house for refinement and mixing over a month ago. Afghan national Arman Basharmal was hired for the work and he reached India on January 19 on the pretext of treatment of a kidney ailment. Besides Basharmal, the STF nabbed Sukhwinder, Major Singh and a woman, Tamanna Gupta. While the role of Tamanna was being ascertained, Sukhwinder and Major were trainers at a gym on Mall Road. Ankush, Sukhwinder and Major had met at the gym.
According to sources, Ankush got involved in the drug trade after he came into contact with drug mafia don Simranjit Singh Sandhu, wanted by Gujarat ATS in a drug seizure case. They too had met at the gym.
Ironically, the house is located just 400 metres from the Sultanwind police chowki.
Masih told the media that he had sold the house and had already received surety amount. He claimed he had rented out the house to Ankush and Sukhwinder for a couple of months as they had approached him through a common contact. “However, there was no rent deed made as it would have legally bound them for 11 months.”
Punjab Singh, who lives with his family in a one-room tenement on rent at the back of the house, said they were not allowed to enter from the front. “We did not know about the drug unit until the police raid.”
A neighbour said they thought that a newly married couple had come to live there as a woman wearing red chura was seen along with a youth on the rooftop at times. “They used to move during late hours in their car, avoiding the main road outside the locality and using link roads instead.”
January 31 Seizure
- 194 kg of heroin
- 38 kg of dextromethorphan (used in cough syrup)
- 25.8 kg of caffeine powder
- 207 kg of chemical composition contained in six drums