The local police on Saturday arrested five people and recovered 200-gm intoxicant powder and 45 passports of different countries from them. The accused have been identified as Surinder Singh alias Ashok, a native of Rohtak; Sandeep Kharb, a resident of Rani Khera village in Delhi; Vikas Sharma, a native of Rohtak; Gurinder Singh, a resident of Patiala; and Pankaj Kumar alias Babbal from Panipat in Haryana.
Superintendent of police (SP) Paramjit Singh Goraya tol mediapersons that the accused were arrested while they travelling to Patiala in a car. During the checking of their car, the police recovered the drug powder and the passports. During preliminary investigation, it came to the fore that the accused were running a travel agency in Delhi. The 45 passports they were carrying included 28 Indian, 14 Nepali and 2 Bangladeshi.
According to the police, Sandeep Kharb, who was the kingpin of the gang, owned a hotel in New Delhi. The travel agents had visited several countries, including Switzerland, Singapore, Thailand and others. Goraya said that some of the countries did not allow them to enter under suspicion as they were into the drugs business for a couple of months. He added that the passports were stamped with visas of different countries and the police were verifying the authenticity of the visas with the embassies concerned.
How they took to drug trade
The SP said that Sandeep, Pankaj and Guridner were old partners running their travel agency and a couple of months ago they incurred losses in the business. He added that to recover the financial loss, they decided to start a separate business that could be other source of income. In the meantime, they met Vikas and Suridner, who suggested them to begin the drug trade as drugs were in great demand in Punjab. The travel agents joined hands with Vikas and Suridner and started the sale and purchase of the intoxicant powder.
Goraya said one member of their gang, identified as Deepak, a native of Rohtak, was still absconding. He used to channelise the supply of drugs. He added the seized intoxicant powder has been sent to the forensic laboratory to verify the quality of the drug.
A case has been registered against the accused under sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances ( NDPS) Act. They were produced before a local court from where they were sent to police custody till April 25.