State on top in heroin seizures

  • Pawan Sharma, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Dec 31, 2014 08:44 IST

Before retaining power in 2012, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal had promised to wage “a war on drugs.” The action taken in the past three years to stamp out the evil of drugs clearly puts Punjab way ahead of other states, according to official records.

Sample this: Punjab accounted for 36% of the FIRs (first information reports) registered across India in 2012 under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

In 2012 alone, another border state, Rajasthan, had registered 1,115 cases under the NDPS Act — merely 4% of the total cases lodged in India. Bigger states such as Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu registered 7% and 5%, respectively, of the FIRs across the country. Goa, a state infamous for rave parties and easy availability of drugs, had lodged just 55 cases under the Act, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

It is in this backdrop that chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, in the recently-concluded assembly session, stated that Punjab was fighting the nation’s war against drugs, while questioning the ‘nonchalant’ attitude of other states towards curbing the drug menace and seizing heroin.

From January 2002 to December 2006 (the Congress came to power in Punjab in March 2002), the police had seized about 110kg heroin and arrested 22,938 persons. In sharp contrast, during the previous tenure of the Akali-BJP regime, 1,050kg heroin was seized and 30,442 people were arrested under the NDPS Act (from January 2007 to December 2011).

That the police notched up a major success in smashing the network of heroin smugglers can be gauged from the fact that in the past three years (January 2012 to December 16, 2014), the state police confiscated 1,266kg heroin (571kg in 2014 alone) and nabbed 44,957 people. It was for the first time in a decade that nearly 1800kg raw material — pseudophedrine, ephedrine and metrophormine — used for making party drug ICE was seized in the past two years.

A whopping 4.5 crore-plus habit-forming pills and capsules — the major source of addiction among the youth in Punjab — were seized in the past three years.

As per the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), in 2013, the Punjab police accounted for 29% of the national heroin and 41% of national opium seizures.

“We have hit hard on heroin smugglers. The large quantity of heroin seized, besides the intoxicant powder and pills, shows the action taken at the ground level,” a senior cop said.


Varinder Singh alias Raja (arrested from New Delhi on December 8, 2013)

Educated at Guru Nanak Public School, Mussoorie (Uttarakhand), and Shivalik Public School, Mohali. His wife is a US citizen and his parents are based in Yangon (Myanmar). Fluent in Burmese and Mizo. He has an exporter licence for sewing machines and is a registered member of the Trade Fair in Ghuzou, China.

Dev Behl (arrested from New Delhi on December 5, 2013)

Behl is a Delhi-based influential businessman with varied interests. Known as a philanthropist who donates liberally to religious and other institutions. He used to have private security. His properties include a 20-room hotel and marriage palace in Himachal Pradesh, and Royal Farm, an 8-acre marriage palace on the Karnal road.

Dr Sanjay Goel (arrested on January 16, 2014, from New Delhi’s Hotel Taj Palace)

Goel is an owner of the Sanvin Group of companies, which is engaged in the manufacture and export of APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients)

10 leading heroin smugglers on the run

Gurjant Singh alias Bholu; Gurminder Singh alias Doctor; Punjab Singh; Sukhdev Singh; Suba Singh; Jaspal Singh alias Jassa — all from Amritsar rural police district; and Rachpal Singh; Amlokh Singh, Amandeep Singh and Sukhbir Singh — from Tarn Taran district.

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