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Posted at: May 27, 2019, 6:58 AM; last updated: May 27, 2019, 6:58 AM (IST)

Gurdwara priest among 2 nabbed with 3.5-kg heroin

Drug worth several crores recovered from Ferozepur border fencing
Gurdwara priest among 2 nabbed with 3.5-kg heroin
Balkar Singh Sidhu, IG of STF, addresses the media regarding the arrest of drug smugglers on Sunday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Nikhil Bhardwaj

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26

Special Task Force of Ludhiana today claimed to have nabbed a gurdwara ‘pathi’ (priest) and his accomplice with 3.5 kg of heroin worth several crores. The contraband was recovered from the border fence at Gatti Hyatt BSF post in Ferozepur.

Balkar Singh Sidhu, STF IG, Bathinda Zone, conducted a press conference on the matter. Sidhu said STF Ludhiana in-charge Harbans Singh had received secret information that Butta Singh (41) and Harchand Singh, alias Baba, of Dholan village, Tarn Taran, both notorious smugglers, had concealed a huge quantity of heroin near the border fencing which was sent to them by the Pakistan-based smugglers.

Butta had earlier been caught with 49 kg of heroin on several occasions.

The STF team laid a trap and nabbed the smuggler duo, and recovered 1 kg of heroin from their possession. Their interrogation led to the recovery of 2.5-kg heroin on the border fencing.

Butta said he was lodged in the Amritsar jail in a drug-recovery case about two months ago. He came out of the jail on bail. He is already facing 10 cases of drug smuggling and one case of RDX recovery. Harbans said Butta had been into the notorious trade for the past 15 years.

Harchand Singh admitted that he was a gurdwara priest at Dholan village and he was not facing any case of drug smuggling.

Butta a hardcore smuggler

The STF chief said Butta had been into the notorious trade for a long time. Earlier, the police had arrested him with 49 kg of heroin. In 2007, 6 kg of heroin was recovered from him by the Sidhwan Bet police and 10 kg by the Tarn Taran police. In 2009, 4 kg of heroin was recovered from him by the Amritsar police. In 2014, Butta was nabbed by the Tarn Taran police with 16 kg of heroin and the same year, the Tarn Taran police nabbed him with 13 kg of heroin. In 2017, he was nabbed by the Tarn Taran police with 50 gram of heroin. In 2018, he was nabbed with 275 gram of heroin by the Valtoha police in Tarn Taran. He was also arrested with RDX by the Roopnagar police in 2007.

Whatsapp connection with Lahore smuggler

The STF in-charge, Harbans Singh, said smugglers were in touch with a Lahore-based smuggler, Mirza, who had thrown the heroin into the Indian side on Ferozepur border. He informed the smugglers on the Indian side through Whatsapp about the contraband. “The smuggler has installed Whatsapp on some foreign-based number through some software. Our further probe may bust the entire drug supply network operating from Pakistan,” said Harbans.

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