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Buy coke, take home a gun

The offer comes in wake of crackdown on drug lords, writes Ramashankar.

india Updated: Jun 24, 2006 02:21 IST

"Buy 1 kg of cocaine, heroin or opium and get a .9 mm pistol free" is Bihar's new business mantra for drug dealers along the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bangladesh borders in state.

The offer comes in the wake of a crackdown by the Sashatra Seema Bal (SSB) and the district police on drug dealers. It has resulted in a sharp fall in the narcot- trade for the past few months. However, illegal trade continues in thrive in connivance with "influential" local residents. The people came to know of the "new deal" after the arrest of a few members of the syndicate in Jogbani block in Araria district a few months ago. Ram Sagar Rai, a drug mafia, told the police during interrogation that offers were being made to boost illegal trade. The firearms on offer are generally those smuggled in by Nepal-based drug lords from Thailand and China. Some also give locally made firearms, intelligence agencies said.

The police said three gangs of traffickers- led by Bhagwan Yadav, Jakir Mian and Ram Sagar Rai -residents of Jogbani, were active in Araria, located along the Indo-Nepal border. After Yadav's death, his wife took charge of the gang.

Araria superintendent of police Paras Nath told the Hindustan Times that the police had seized heroin valued at Rs 40 lakh from Rai.

Police said the drugs were smuggled into India through Morang and Sansuri districts of Nepal, adjoining Araria and heroin and charas were in demand. The "booty" does not remain confined to the region, but find their way to Uttar Pradesh, Bengal and Jharkhand through Kishnaganj, Araria and Purnia. Purnia, sources said, thrives on opium trade. The district police led by SP, Sudhanshu Kumar, recently destroyed standing opium crop in 21 kathas of land at Tikapatti.

Two tractors carrying Manipuri ganja were also seized by the police from Srinagar in the district. Gangs led by Faizan, Shankar Singh of the North Bihar Liberation Army) and Buchan Yadav run the trade with political patronage. Kishanganj is also another hub.

Drugs are smuggled in from Manipur, Assam and Siliguri and gangs led by Gora Singh, Mahendra Mandal and Madan Singh are control the trade.