The Capital is gradually shifting its gaze to the ‘troubled’ east for its mounting cannabis needs.
Till last year, the Delhi Police was used to making huge seizures of marijuana being smuggled into the city from the neighbouring north Indian states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.
“But these days, most of the contraband smuggled into the city is grown and dispatched from Maoist-effected states such as Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and those witnessing insurgency movements such as Assam,” said a senior Delhi Police officer from the crime branch, requesting anonymity.
While 1.3 tonne of ganja were seized till the end of 2009, more than a tonne of ganja was seized by different wings of the Delhi Police till the end of July this year.
Two of the biggest catches were made on two consecutive days in the middle of last month.
Two men attempting to smuggle 142 kg of the narcotic, worth Rs 50 lakh in the black market, from Orissa’s Cuttack were apprehended from near the Mangolpuri industrial area on July 17.
“The gang used to purchase ganja from their agent in Cuttack, load them in airbags and transport them to Delhi on a tourist vehicle. The car would be occupied by a woman and children to avoid suspicion, but their bluff was called when our picket staff insisted on checking it as they were passing by that night,” said Chhaya Sharma DCP (outer).
The next day, a special investigation team (SIT) of the crime branch recovered 500 kg of the weed being smuggled into west Delhi’s Uttam Nagar area in an oil tanker en route from Patna via Orissa.
“This was the first time that an oil tanker smuggling cannabis was intercepted in Delhi. The contraband was worth more than Rs 1 crore in the market,” said Joy Tirkey, additional DCP (SIT crime branch).
“There is a marked shift to acquiring the contraband from eastern India. Our counterparts in these states have revealed that Maoists are nudging disgruntled farmers to grow it on their fields. This contraband is then smuggled to various parts of the country, especially Delhi, and the profits are used to acquire ammunition for the Maoists,” the officer said.
“We have been cracking down on various criminal elements and their activities in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games. These recent arrests are part of our strategy to prevent criminal elements based in the NCR and beyond from cashing in during the event,” said Neeraj Thakur additional CP (crime).