DRI officials said the prime accused in the Palghar drug seizure case, Bhanudas More, 53, had been convicted in February 2001, after methaqualone tablets — also known as mandrax — were seized from a factory raided by the Narcotics Control Bureau. He was imprisoned from 2001 to 2007. Officials said he pleaded with them after he was arrested as he could be awarded the death penalty.
“More is aware of the laws. He knows that if he is convicted twice for selling and possessing drugs of a commercial quantity, he is likely to be awarded the death sentence,” said a high-ranking DRI officer. He added that More had sold 18kg powdered MD to two African nationals.
The other accused, Pappu Chaudhary, was imprisoned from 2002 to 2010 after he was convicted in connection with a hashish seizure. “More and Chaudhary met at Arthur Road Jail,” said a DRI officer. Officials said Chaudhary was in touch with drug traffickers in India and abroad. The agency raised concerns over factory owners leasing their premises to strangers without inquiring what they intend to manufacture there.
“The accused told the factory owner that they would manufacture a compound used in paints. The owner leased a part of the factory to them. However, they bought their own equipment, including a glass line reactor. Factory owners must practise due diligence and should sign a contract with such people. The contract should include clauses stating that banned substances will not be permitted to be manufactured on the premises,” said the officer.
Investigations revealed that the accused asked the owner to extend their lease. “The accused wanted to manufacture more product and had been negotiating with the owner for a month. We suspect that they may have rented places elsewhere in the state and are investigating further,” said the officer.