Heroin haul: ED seizes 79 lakh during searches in Amritsar

ED conducted searches at nine locations in Amritsar, including properties of former Akali Dal leader Anwar Masih, who is an accused in 194-kg heroin haul dating back to January 2020
The ED searches coincided with NIA raid at Anwar Masih’s house in connection with 3,000-kg heroin haul at the Mundra port in Gujarat.
The ED searches coincided with NIA raid at Anwar Masih’s house in connection with 3,000-kg heroin haul at the Mundra port in Gujarat.
Updated on Oct 10, 2021 01:09 AM IST
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ByGagandeep Jassowal, Jalandhar

The enforcement directorate (ED), Jalandhar, has seized around 79 lakh in Indian and foreign currency during searches at nine locations in Amritsar, including properties of former Akali Dal leader Anwar Masih, an accused in the 194-kg heroin haul dating back to January 2020.

The financial investigation agency has been probing the money trail in an international drug nexus under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The searches began on Friday and coincided with the National Investigation Agency’s raid at Masih’s house in Amritsar in connection with the seizure of 3,000-kg heroin by the directorate of revenue intelligence at the Mundra port in Gujarat last month.

The ED on Friday also raided the office of a money changer in Amritsar, who was suspected of transferring the drug money through Hawala to abroad. ED officials revealed that a few of the accused are in judicial custody. “We have been making efforts to crack down on the drug cartel established in India with its strong roots in Punjab,” said an ED official privy to the development.

In January 2020, the special task force (STF), Punjab, had recovered nearly 188-kg heroin from the house of Masih, a former member of the Punjab subordinate service selection board in Amritsar. Around 6-kg heroin had been recovered already in the same case from another man in Mohali.

The ED has also raided properties owned by Ankush Kapoor, who has been identified as the kingpin of drug racket along with Tanvir Bedi, who is in Australia, and Simranjit Singh Sandhu, who is in Italy. According to the ED, Kapoor and his aides Sukhwinder Singh, Major Singh, Tamanna Gupta and Afghanistan national Arman Bashar Mall had established their base at a house owned by Masih in Amritsar.

A senior intelligence officer of Punjab Police, requesting anonymity, said Tanvir Bedi is running an international drug network with links in Dubai, Pakistan and Afghanistan and they were receiving payments through Hawala or shell companies. Bedi’s name had also surfaced in the multicrore ex-sarpanch Gurdeep Singh Rano drug case busted by the STF in November 2020. The officer said both NIA and ED have been probing Bedi and Sandhu’s role in the Mundra drug haul case.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    A staff correspondent, based in Jalandhar covers Doaba Region of Punjab. Reports about Punjab Police, Enforcement Directorate, politics, corruption, legal, rural areas, socio-economic issues and technical education besides having specialisation in the investigative stories.

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