Kingpins’ arrest lifts the veil on 3,000 kg drug seizure case
IANS (File photo)

Kingpins’ arrest lifts the veil on 3,000 kg drug seizure case

New Delhi, August 26, 2022

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) got a breakthrough on Wednesday in its probe into the largest drug haul by Indian authorities when it arrested the two alleged kingpins of a drugs network in connection with the seizure of 3,000 kgs of heroin in Gujarat on September 13 last year.

The NIA, which took over the investigation in October 2021 for the largest consignment of heroin seized from Gujarat’s Mundra port by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), has been making progress in the case.

In March, the NIA filed a charge sheet against 16 people, while Punjab Police also made several arrests. At least 15 persons are behind bars in the case.

Mundra port, India’s largest private commercial port which handled more than 150 million metric tons of cargo last year from across the world, was in the eye of a storm after the drug seizure, with people speculating the role of port employees and authorities in the case.

While the port authorities, in their response to the media queries, clarified that there is no control over the contents of the containerized consignments that land at their ports, it did not, however, stop the speculation.

Investigating officials believe that the arrest of the alleged kingpins -- Harpreet Singh Talwar alias Kabir Talwar and Prince Sharma from Delhi -- will help lift the veil on the case. They are confident that the arrests will expose the entire supply chain and network of money laundering, drug distribution and other players involved in this international drug network.

IANS adds:

The NIA on Wednesday conducted searches at 20 locations across the country in connection with the case.

The two key accused, who have been arrested, include the owner of several pubs in Delhi, officials said.

The raids were conducted at 14 places in Delhi, three places in West Bengal, two places in Gujarat, and one place in Punjab.

"Based on investigations so far and incriminating evidence obtained during the searches, two key accused involved in smuggling of heroin through import consignments from Afghanistan, via maritime route, have been arrested," an official said.

Talwar, who is the alleged kingpin as per the NIA, was identified as a social media influencer, and owner of several pubs in Delhi.

The official said that the arrested accused were part of an international drugs network involved in smuggling of large commercial quantities of heroin originating from Afghanistan into India.

"Heroin was being concealed in import consignments of material, such as semi-processed talc, bituminous coal etc. One such consignment of about 3,000 kgs of heroin was intercepted and seized at Mundra Port by the DRI in 2021," the official said.

The accused were allegedly involved in import of narcotics through shell import companies and further facilitated its transport to Delhi-based Afghan nationals involved in purification and of distribution of heroin in many states including Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, and UP.

"Investigation continues to unravel the entire supply chain and network of money laundering, drug distribution and other players involved in this international drug network," the official added.

NNN

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