A dead man’s appeal filed 15 years ago is expected to be heard this week at the Bombay high court.
Gurubax alias Sam Bhiryani, a drug smuggler, was convicted in a Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) case in 2001 and had filed an appeal at the high court the same year. After conviction, Bhiryani was out on bail and died in 2012.
From walking the pavement of Connaught Place in New Delhi as a tout in the late 60s Gurubax Anandram Bhiryani became one of the biggest drug dealers in India, and controlled a drug cartel that supplied heroin to the United States of America, United Kingdom and Europe.
In July 1981, as part of routine procedure, the US Customs checked an Indian national Surinder Mehta who had just disembarked from a flight at the JFK International Airport. Four kilograms of high-grade Burmese heroin was seized from Mehta. In his testimony, he said he worked for Bhiryani.
A series of controlled DEA operations unearthed the widespread drug network that Bhiryani controlled in the United States. It was one of the biggest drug enforcement operations in that era involving an Indian national.
Bhiryani’s business saw him establish a slew of companies in the film and television world, to beauty parlours, sales agencies, real estate, hotels, restaurants and bars that controlled and transferred his money earned from drugs. In the late 80s his luck started running out. The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) focused its action against Bhiryani and in November 1987 arrested five of his key gang members.
In 1988, one of the members, Bhavarlal Somani in his confessional statement said Bhiryani used to export drugs to the US through agents but no contraband was sezied from his possession.
In 2001, NDPS special judge AR Joshi convicted him to 10 years and fined him Rs4 lakh. Bhiryani is believed to have died from a heart attack in 2012 when he was 75 years old. While hearing his appeal at the high court on April 28, 2015, justice AM Thipsay was informed that Bhiryani has passed away and he had adjourned the matter to May 7. The next hearing is slated for this week.