Smuggling charas into Mumbai is as easy as taking a flight from Jammu&Kashmir
The disclosure sent alarm bells ringing as it meant serious security lapses at the airport, which remains on alert round the clockmumbai Updated: Oct 20, 2017 00:09 IST
The alleged confessions of a narcotics smuggler from Jammu and Kashmir have raised serious questions over the security at Srinagar airport.
It is particularly alarming, taking into account the militant attack on a paramilitary complex close to the airport earlier this month.
The state home department has been apprised so it can tell its J&K counterparts to plug the security gaps at the sensitive airport, which smugglers allegedly use to transport narcotics.
The Mumbai police’s investigation began with the arrest of a 23-year-old Srinagar resident, Ishafaq Ahmed Mohammad Ashraf Reshi. Reshi, a second-year BSc student was waiting to deliver a consignment of 15kg charas near Oberoi mall in Dindoshi on September 3, when, acting on a tip-off, ANC sleuths arrested him. The contraband was worth more than Rs60 lakh. Reshi was booked under the Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
During initial questioning, Reshi allegedly revealed that he worked for a cartel operating out Srinagar, said sources. He told police the cartel was headed by a man identified as “Hakim”. Reshi said he was only a transporter of the drug, which is found abundantly in the valley. He received a commission in turn.
ANC officials said they were surprised when Reshi claimed to have smuggled the drug into the city in a consignment of apples transported from Srinagar by truck — a modus operandi used by cartels from J&K.
A few months before Reshi was nabbed, the ANC had arrested another narcotics smuggler, Haji Rehman Shaikh alias Haji Baba, 67, from a hotel in Dongri. Officials recovered a consignment of 20 kg charas, which Haji had smuggle into the city via apple trucks.
However, ANC officials later grew suspicious about Reshi’s claims when he failed to give them details about the transporter who had carried the apple consignment.
When they continued interrogating him, Reshi allegedly broke down and confessed that he had actually travelled to Mumbai from Srinagar by air and hidden the drugs in his luggage.
The disclosure sent alarm bells ringing as it meant serious security lapses at the airport, which remains on alert round the clock. The ANC checked with the private airline, which confirmed that Reshi had travelled with them on the date he mentioned. “It was shocking to find out that the narcotics consignment had passed through the scanners unnoticed,” sources said.
Senior superintendent of police, Srinagar airport, Manzoor Ahmad Dalal, told HT that he had not received any report pertaining to Reshi’s confessions.