Smuggled heroin worth Rs 1,000 crore seized

IT News
Mumbai, Aug. 10: 

In a massive haul of drugs, 191 kg heroin worth Rs 1,000 crore, smuggled from Afghanistan, via Iran, as imported ayurvedic medicine, was seized at the Nhava Sheva port, ner Navi Mumbai, by officers of the Mumbai customs and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence on Saturday. 
Two customs house agents (CHA)- Meenanatha Bodake of “MB Shipping and Logistics Solution” and Kondibhau Pandurang Gunjan were arrested from Nerul and Mumbra respectively, for their involvement in the case and were remanded to judicial custody for 14 days, by the court, on the condition that their COVID-19 tests are negative. 
Arrested CHA Bodake told investigators that one Mohammed Numan had introduced him to Delhi-based importer Suresh Bhatia of ”Sarvim Exports”. Bhatia was arrested in drug peddling case earlier. Four more persons including an importer and a financier have been picked from Delhi and are being brought to Mumbai, sources said. 
“Sarvim Exports” is a proprietorship firm registered under Companies Act 1956 having registered office address at Derawal Nagar in North West Delhi and has been engaged in importing ”Glycyrrhiza glabra”, from the ”Baradaran Keyhanzai Ltd” and “Mohammad Dawood Abdul Hakim Ltd” based in Afghanistan. The ”Glycyrrhiza glabra”, commonly known as Liquorice (Jeshthamadh) is used as a flavouring agent in foods and medicinal remedies. It is widely used to treat cough. 
Acting on the tip off, officers of the special intelligence and investigation branch (SIIB) of the Customs, sought the help of DRI.  When the officials examined the container, they noticed orange-coloured gunny bags that had been imported by “Sarvim Exports”. The goods inside the gunny bags were labelled as “Glycyrrhiza glabra” extract. 
The drug was inside gunny bags, hidden in plastic pipes which were painted to make them look like bamboos. The contraband was declared an Ayurvedic medicine. The wooden pipes were covered with bark that appeared to be pasted on them. When the officials removed the outer bark, they noticed that it was a pipe with a powder stuffed inside it.  An NDPS test was conducted to ensure that the powder was heroin. After the test confirmed that contraband was  transported into the country, the NDPS confiscated it. 
“A larger syndicate is involved in the distribution of the narcotics. Some of the accomplices of the accused, who had abetted the crime, are yet to be apprehended. Ongoing investigations seem to suggest that the accused had smuggled similar quantities of drugs in the past as well. Officials said this was the biggest haul in Mumbai adding that a larger syndicate is involved in the distribution of the narcotics. Some of the accomplices of the accused, who had abetted the crime, are yet to be apprehended. Ongoing investigations seem to suggest that the accused had smuggled similar quantities of drugs in the past as well. 
In a similar seizure, on 31 January, the special task force of Punjab police had seized 194 kg of heroin and other contraband from a rented house in Amritsar district and arrested six persons, including an Afghan national and a woman. 
Afghanistan has been the world’s illicit opium maker since 2001. The country’s poppy harvest produces more than 90 per cent of illicit heroin globally and more than 95 per cent of the European supply. From Mumbai, the target areas of distribution by local networks are the ma9in metropolitan cities including Mumbai.

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