532-kg heroin haul: Salt trader gets bail against ₹5 lakh bond
A designated special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court that additional district and sessions judge NS Gill presided over granted bail to Ajay Gupta, an Amritsar trader, who is an accused in the 532kg heroin haul case. Gupta, who is also a qualified chartered accountant, was working as a trader in Amritsar.
The customs department had seized the consignment, one of the largest cache of drugs seized, from the international border in Attari in June this year. The drugs were concealed in a salt consignment. Gupta was granted the relief against bail bonds of ₹5 lakh and one surety.
“Not even once did the NIA seek Gupta’s remand nor any recovery was made from him,” his counsel Amarjit Singh Longia had told the court, adding that the customs department had arrested Gupta on July 20 and on July 24, the NIA started the investigation of the case in which they arrested five persons.
Police had arrested Gupta on the charges that he had links with smugglers in Pakistan. Even the NIA had alleged that contrary to Gupta’s assertion that he used to import salt from Pakistan, he did not place any orders and, also, did not make any payments. In response, later, Gupta produced a statement of his account in the Indian Overseas Bank, showing that he had paid multiple times for ordering rock salt from Pakistan.
The NIA had alleged that Gupta received ₹18 lakh from Tariq Lone, a Kashmiri trader and also a co-accused. The agency had claimed that Gupta had received four consignments between 2018 and 2019 and alleged that under the guise of salt, he was running the business of drugs. Investigations had revealed that Gupta had also exchanged 33 calls with the main accused in the case, Gurpinder Singh, who had died in Amritsar jail under mysterious circumstances after his arrest.
Punjab Police state special operation cell, Amritsar, had also nominated Gupta as an accused in a case registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act on December 21, 2018. The police, however, failed to prove these charges and, finally, moved an application seeking his discharge . An Amritsar court discharged Gupta of these allegations on September 9 this year.