In a Bhola-like racket of international synthetic drug smuggling that Punjab Police busted on Thursday, an established New Delhi businessman is among three people arrested.
The Delhi network comes to light quickly after police last month neutralised the operations that dismissed Punjab Police officer Jagdish Bhola allegedly controlled. "Dev Behl of Chander Lok in New Delhi is the new kingpin we have caught based on inputs from the smugglers interrogated in the past two months," inspector general of police (Patiala zone) Paramjit Singh Gill said here.
Rakesh Tinku of Subhash Nagar in New Delhi and Mohinder, Behl's driver from Una in Himachal Pradesh, are the other men arrested.
During preliminary interrogation, the accused are reported to have revealed a major international drug racket run from New Delhi for obtaining raw material (precursor chemicals ephedrine and pseudoephedrine), converting those into synthetic drugs such as ICE (M-amphetamine), and shipping it to the international market, including Canada. "The module worked for three years by adopting innovative camouflaging techniques," said IG Gill.
"The network sent at least three consignments of synthetic drugs to Canada. We have identified Iqbal Singh 'Pala' of Canada to be one of the recipients," said the police officer.
Police said Dev Behl was an influential Delhi businessman with varied interests, who owned a pharmaceutical company earlier. His house in Delhi is over an acre and under private protection. He owns a 20-room hotel (Royal Farm) and a marriage palace in Himachal Pradesh, besides another 8-acre marriage palace (also named Royal Farm) on the Karnal road in Delhi, excluding other assets.
Accused Rakesh Tinku holds garment export licence in Delhi. "Systematic investigations after Bhola's arrest led us to the three men," said inspector general of police Paramjit Singh Gill. In a two-tier grilling since October 14, the smugglers answered the sustained queries of first the Patiala police and then State Special Operations Cell (SSOC) in at Joint Interrogation Centre in Amritsar.
So far, police have extracted information from 100 smugglers and the focus was not limited to Punjab.
Pursuing gathered leads gathered from the inputs, police parties have reached Delhi and other states to seized synthetic drugs and chemicals.