A local-level kabaddi player, who was declared a proclaimed offender last year, had been running a cross-border heroin smuggling racket in nexus with the Border Security Force troops in Fazilka sector, claimed the police here on Sunday.
Interrogation of the accused, identified as Balraj Singh, alias Raju Katta, who was brought to Tarn Taran on production warrants from SAS Nagar on Friday, led to the recovery of 6-kg heroin from the cattle shed at his house in Naushera Dhala village here on Saturday.
Balraj and his family had come under the police radar after two drug peddlers were arrested with 12-kg heroin on July 7 last year. The duo -- Rajbir Singh and Dilbag Singh -- told the Tarn Taran crime investigation agency (CIA) staff they received the contraband from Balraj and his brother Harpal Singh in presence of their mother Rajwant Kaur.
A case was registered against the trio on July 25, following which Rajwant was arrested on July 31 while Harpal was held on March 18 this year. Both are in jail. Balraj, meanwhile, had been declared a proclaimed offender (PO). He was finally arrested by the SAS Nagar police on August 27 this year and booked in a fresh case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
“During his interrogation, Balraj gave information about heroin stashed away in the cattle shed of his house. Tarn Taran CIA staff in-charge Hardeep Singh along with deputy superintendent of police (investigation) Satpal Singh recovered 6 kg of the contraband from the spot on Saturday,” said Tarn Taran senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manmohan Sharma in a press conference here on Sunday.
Sharma said besides being a kabaddi player, Balraj is a smuggler “of international level”, who used to smuggle “large quantities of heroin” through the Indo-Pak border in Fazilka sector, “with the help of BSF troops”.
“Many other cases have been registered against Balraj in various districts, and all his family members have been involved in smuggling and are now behind the bars,” said superintendent of police (detection) Jagmohan Singh.
When contacted, BSF deputy inspector general (DIG), Punjab Frontier, RS Kataria confirmed Balraj’s association with a BSF constable. “The accused was associated with constable Harpartap Singh of 117 battalion, who along with four others was arrested for smuggling and handed over to the Fazilka police in July last year,” he said.