In a drive against illegal business of narcotics mafia in Punjab, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday attached Rs. 20 crore worth properties of an alleged drug dealer, freezing his palatial bungalows and other assets under the money-laundering laws.
The ED, which began its probe after the Punjab Police seized Rs. 200 crore narcotics last year from a syndicate which is alleged to be run by Ranjit Singh Kandola and his associates, issued orders on Thursday attaching the properties terming them as "proceeds of crime" of the illegal drug trade.
Kandola is in Tihar jail here since his arrest in 2012 in connection with a drug-related case.
This is one of the biggest actions the agency has undertaken against money laundering in a bid to crack down on the business of illegal drugs in Punjab.
The assets that have been attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) include Kandola's 9.5 acres farmhouse in Samrala in Ludhiana, a residential house at Banga village, hotel Roop Palace in Rupnagar and a palatial bungalow in DLF City Phase-I in Gurgaon near Delhi.
While the total registered value of these properties is about Rs. 5.6 crore, the market value of these assets is estimated to be over Rs. 20 crore, sources said.
Some of the immovable properties are in the name of Kandola's wife.
The ED had conducted searches earlier this year at numerous premises belonging to Kandola, also known as Raja Kandola in local circles.
Kandola, officials said, was running a racket to manufacture 'ice' (a party drug) from methamphetamine and ephedrine and was getting supplies of heroin from Pakistan as part of his illegal syndicate business.
The police investigation, which was relied upon by the agency to frame its money laundering case, has found that Kandola was allegedly supplying drugs at various locations in Punjab, Delhi and other big cities of the country.
"Some foreign nationals were also part of the racket who were involved in manufacturing and supplies of the drugs abroad. His connections with some residents in Canada, Australia and the United States are also under the scanner of enforcement agencies and anti-narcotics sleuths," sources said.