Chandigarh: “Bacchu Mian”, “Bagga Chairman” and “Anaten” may not be common nicknames but Punjab Police have found that these names were part of a multi-million dollar drugs racket operating in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka even as they claimed to have broken the supply chain of heroin smuggling in the state resulting in “nil availability to consumers”.
With heroin seizures hitting an all-time high of 302 kg in less than six months this year, senior Punjab Police officials claim that the well-oiled drugs smuggling network in the state had been smashed.
The heroin seizure (till June 10) is valued at over Rs.1,510 crore in the international market. In 2013, Punjab Police had recovered an all-time high of nearly 417 kg heroin valued at over Rs.2,085 crore as against 279 kg in 2012 and 101 kg in 2011.
This seizure is in addition to the nearly 250 kg of heroin worth Rs.1,250 crore seized by the Border Security Force (BSF) this year (till June) along the 553-km long barbed wire fenced international border between India and Pakistan in Punjab.
Gaurav Yadav, Punjab Police’s Inspector General, Counter-Intelligence, said that investigations have revealed that the heroin trafficking chain started from Afghanistan, passed through Pakistan and had distribution links in India and Sri Lanka.
The names mentioned above are those of the drug-lords in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka who are an active part of the racket.
Bacchu Mian is an affluent and well-connected Rampur (Uttar Pradesh)-based recipient of narcotics. His associates Mumtaz Mohammad Ali and Vinod Kumar have been arrested and Bacchu Mian identified as the “end recipient” of the heroin consignments.
The cartel chain starts from Bagga Chairman of Lahore and culminates at Anaten of Sri Lanka who used to collect consignments in Delhi, with several Afghans as couriers in various links.
Another big supply chain of heroin starts with Arif Mohammad alias “Doctor” in Pakistan, transits through Punjab-based smuggler Gurminder Singh alias Lalli and culminates in Delhi-based Nigerians “Attou” and “Peter”, Punjab police investigations have revealed.
In India, the distribution links have been established in Punjab, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
“In Punjab, the street price of a gram of heroin is about Rs. 2,000, making it a rich consumer’s drug of choice, mostly in urban areas. At present the distribution network in Punjab, as far as heroin is concerned, stands broken and there is nil availability to the consumers,” Yadav claimed.
Calling it a “multiplier effect” in the price of heroin as it crosses the international border from Pakistan into India, police claim that the price of the drug doubles and trebles when it reaches border states like Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
“The price increases 3-5 times when heroin reaches Delhi from the border states and 5-10 times when it reaches Mumbai. After transiting through India, the heroin ends up on the streets of North American and European cities. There is manifold increase in the price of heroin when the consignment reaches the international market,” Yadav pointed out.
In just five days this month (June 6-10), Punjab Police recovered nearly 26 kg of heroin, worth Rs.130 crore, from various places.
“To avoid detection of heroin during transportation, the consignment was hidden in a cavity inside a mustard seed grinder. Investigations have revealed that Bacchu Mian has also been using Afghan couriers for transporting heroin consignments hidden in capsules,” Yadav said.
Police are keeping tabs on smugglers in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to bust the drugs racket.
In the meanwhile, Punjab Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has announced a comprehensive de-addiction and rehabilitation plan for drug addicts to complement and take the ongoing war against drug smugglers to its logical conclusion.
Under this programme, drug addicts will be provided medicines free of cost at 141 community health centers across the State. Once they are de-addicted, they will also be offered indoor rehabilitation facilities with 600 beds being created for this purpose in Government Medical Colleges as well as private hospitals.
The Deputy CM announced that the entire programme was being taken up as a war campaign and that the civil and police administration was being involved. “We have appointed ADGP Law and Order Dinkar Gupta and Health Secretary Vinni Mahajan as the nodal officers from the police and civil administration to head this campaign. They will be assisted by Narcotics Control Board head Ishwar Singh as well as senior civil and police officers who will be posted at each district headquarter to monitor the campaign.
Mr. Badal also informed that Punjab Government was in a constant discussion with Punjab and Haryana High Court to set up a Special Court for the cases pertaining to drugs peddling. He said the government would also confiscate the property of those persons involved in such practices.
On a query regarding exercise of putting the drug peddlers behind the bars, Mr. Badal informed that more than 27000 drug peddlers have been sent behind bars and there were 145 kingpins, who had been caught and put behind bars. He said that no one would be spared, whosoever he may be, if found to be involved in this trade.
Mr. Badal also informed they have also formed an Internal Vigilance Cell under the supervision of IG Ishwar Singh.