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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Contraband supplied to nabbed customs official via Samjhauta Express

Rajeev Bhaskar, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, May 07, 2013
First Published: 19:19 IST(7/5/2013) | Last Updated: 23:18 IST(7/5/2013)

Gurdev Singh, the central excise and customs department superintendent, posted at Attari railway station, caught with 10-kg heroin in Kartarpur on May 3, used to get the contraband from the Samjhauta Express.

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The coach number and the exact location of the supply was conveyed to him by a Pakistan-based alleged kingpin, identified as Sardar, over phone. The accused reportedly turned to drug peddling two years back.

After interrogation, the police have recovered 2 kg heroin, 5 kg smack and Rs. 4 lakh cash from his official residence, SSP Yurinder Singh Hayer told HT.

"Gurdev used to get drug-supply from the Samjhauta Express. He used to sneak out the contraband to his residence, before supplying it to other conduits," the SSP said, adding that the accused had strong links with smugglers in Pakistan.

"From the mobile call details of the accused, we have zeroed in on some more numbers from Pakistan. Investigations are on to identify the people across the border, who were in touch with Gurdev," SSP added.

However, the SSP refused to share any information on the modus operandi of the accused, but did not rule out the role of Pakistan's intelligence agency, ISI, and Pakistan customs official in the drug racket.

Meanwhile, HT inquires have shown that Gurdev, a national athlete, joined the  customs department as inspector in 1980 through the sports quota. Within months of his joining, he gained fame and respect for seizing big hauls of smuggled drugs and gold.

In 1982, he received several bullets in the leg, while chasing a smuggler and had to be hospitalized for a year. For his outstanding performance, Gurdev was honored with a gallantry award in 1984 and promoted to superintendent

"Three years ago, Gurdev turned a drug addict. He started using his links with drug smugglers to get contraband for his own use and later took to drug-peddling," a highly-placed police source said.

He was reportedly in touch with a Pakistan-based drug kingpin, identified as Sardar, through a Pakistan SIM card found at Attari railway station, which could not be tracked further by Indian intelligence agencies.

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