In a major breakthrough, the Punjab Police have arrested the mastermind behind an international drug smuggling racket along with four of his associates near Delhi.
The arrest of Jagdish Singh alias Bhola, a dismissed Punjab Police DSP, will help the police unravel the network of synthetic drugs -- from their manufacturing to their consumption in Europe and North America.
Bhola, former internationally reputed wrester and an Arjuna awardee, was one of the most wanted fugitives operating the drug trafficking racket in India, which indulged in manufacturing and smuggling of costly narcotics like pseudoephedrine (precursor chemical), ICE (M-amphetamine) and heroin into Europe, US, Canada and other countries.
He had even hired the Chinese and Vietnamese nationals for making drugs and around 50 NRIs for further shipping these to the western countries.
Announcing the arrest here on Monday, Patiala SSP Hardial Singh Mann said, “After giving them a long chase, a police team led by SP Bhupinder Singh Khatra arrested Bhola and others from a dhaba at Ghanaur near Delhi.”
“He has smuggled drugs worth thousands of crores to foreign countries through his international network, which had NRIs and foreign nationals as its members. So far, the police have traced nearly 40 such foreign nationals involved in the racket,” said the SSP.
He said Bhola was on the run since March 3, 2013, when his SAS Nagar house was raided.
Bhola is the mastermind behind the Rs. 700 crore synthetic drug racket exposed by the Jalandhar Rural, Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala police.
As a result of the Punjab police operations against Bhola, eight FIRs have been registered against him and over 20 of his associates have been arrested. He was the kingpin of an extensive drug network, which was diverting precursor chemicals from medicinal purposes to illegal factories manufacturing synthetic drugs like ICE and supplying the synthetic drugs to Europe, Canada and the United States.
Drugs worth Rs. 18 crore, including 10kg pseudoephedrine, 1.5kg ICE (M-amphetamine) and 600gm Ephedrine, were recovered from them, while the police were conducting a search at his hideouts in Delhi and the NCR region, said the SSP.
Besides Bhola, the police have arrested notorious criminal Sarabjit Singh Saba of Waryam Nangal in Amritsar; Harpreet Singh, a resident of Jhabal in Tarn Taran; Baljinder Singh of Pandori in Tarn Taran; and Ravinder Singh, a resident of Sonepat in Haryana.
Bhola was a former decorated wrestler who had won the Arjuna Award, Bharat Kesri and Rustam-i-Hind titles and was recruited to the police as a sportsman. After being found involved in the drug trade, Bhola was dismissed from police.
The police found 35 passports and a visa-punching machine while searching his hideout at East Patel Nagar, Delhi.
“The police have recovered a British, eight Canadian and 17 Indian passports besides a US-made visa imprint machine from the Delhi hideout of Bhola,” said DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, adding that the counter-intelligence, Punjab, would further probe the matter.
March 3, 2013: Bhola was on the run since his Mohali residence was raided by a police party and drugs worth Rs. 100 crore were recovered
March 7: Names of boxers Vijender Singh and Ram Singh figure in a case as Vijender’s car was found outside the house of Anoop Singh Kahlon, an accomplice of Bhola. Later, the police gave a clean chit to Vijender
March to June: Police arrest around 20 drug peddlers and recover drugs worth Rs. 700 crore, while Bhola gives the slip to police.
October 26: Police nab an accused in the ASI Gurdev Singh murder case outside Haveli Restaurant, Jalandhar, who gives a tip-off about Bhola’s hideouts
November 11: Police arrest Bhola, four accomplices, from near Delhi