The Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) laid a trap to arrest four people on Monday for setting up a chemical laboratory to produce Mephedrone in an Oshiwara flat, around 200m away from the police station. The police seized 151.50kg of the banned drug, making it one of the biggest seizures.
Niket Kaushik, inspector general of police (ATS), said, “A raid was conducted and four people have been arrested for manufacturing and selling Mephedrone.”
A cheap drug, Mephedrone was recently banned under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NPDS) Act. Unlike a past incident where the Mephedrone turned out to be sodium glutamate upon testing, the drug seized by the Charkop unit of the ATS, led by police inspector Subhash Sawant, has been confirmed to be Mephedrone, said police sources.
ATS officials acted on a tip-off about the drug being produced at the flat and sealed the exit and entry points of the building before raiding it. The ATS found various trays, chemicals and other articles used to manufacture the banned drug.
“Mephedrone was seized in various forms. Some quantity of the drug was seized in powder form, while some of it was in crystal and liquid form. There were some packets that we believe were ready for sale. We have also seized raw materials and chemicals used to produce the drug,” said a police officer, requesting anonymity.
The four arrested have been identified as 41-year-old Sajid Electricalwala, 39-year-old Sachin Bagul, 32-year-old Chandrakant Katade, and 28-year-old Rahul Salunkhe. ATS sources said main accused Electricalwala was technically qualified to prepare the drug.
Preliminary investigations revealed the four were operating from the flat for a month. The ATS is exploring the possibility of the four having links with Shashikala Patankar and also with Mumbai’s underworld, and is looking for a key dealer in south Mumbai, who fled from his house after the arrests.
The accused were produced before a court in Sewri and were remanded in police custody till July 10.