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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Delhi turns into preferred heroin transit route to Punjab

An analysis of 10 cases of seizures of heroin in Punjab by the anti-drug STF of state police found that the contraband was smuggled via Delhi in eight of them.

punjab Updated: Sep 12, 2019 10:24 IST
Anil Sharma
Anil Sharma
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Police officials with arrested drugs peddlars  in Jalandhar,  last month.
Police officials with arrested drugs peddlars in Jalandhar, last month. (Pardeep Pandit / HT Photo )

The national capital has become the transit route of choice for smuggling of heroin into Punjab instead of sneaking the contraband through the barbed fence at the border, with the Border Security Force (BSF) and police increasing vigil along the India-Pakistan border in the state in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack in February this year.

The Punjab Police’s anti-drug special task force (STF) claimed this after an analysis of recent drug seizures.

“We analysed 10 cases of seizures of heroin in the state and found that the contraband was smuggled via Delhi in eight of them,” said STF (border range) inspector general (IG) RK Jaiswal.

Another senior STF official said, “We examined the data of heroin seizures from July 15 to August 15. At least 60 cases were analysed and it emerged that most of the consignments were smuggled from Delhi, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir. Then we thoroughly probed 10 of these cases of bulk seizures.”

“Till two years ago, huge recoveries were made near the barbed fence but now these have declined. Pakistan-based smugglers push heroin into India either by throwing it across the fence or sliding it in plastic pipes through the barbed wire. But now, they have realised that it is quite risky for them to use these methods as the BSF and police have increased patrol along the fence,” he added.

The BSF seized 116 kg heroin along the Punjab border from January to October this year against 180kg during the corresponding period last year.

Last week, an STF team conducted a raid at the Lakhna village residence of notorious peddler from Tarn Taran Gurpawitter Singh and recovered 860 gm heroin. His aide Amritpal Singh of Chooslewar village was also arrested with 150gm.

Also, the STF arrested Suraj Singh of Makboolpura village, Safli of Jandiala Guru, Jagdev Singh of Loharka in Amritsar and Money of Bugge village in Tarn Taran with 100gm heroin. In both cases, the contraband was smuggled via Delhi, the task force claimed.

Punjab director general of police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta said, “The route has not fully changed as drugs are still being pushed through the border. Recently, 532kg heroin being smuggled through the border was seized at the Attari integrated check-post (ICP).”

Contraband being smuggled from Afghanistan, Myanmar

A senior STF official said heroin is being brought to Delhi from Myanmar and Afghanistan. “A few months ago, the Delhi Police seized 200kg heroin and half of it was smuggled from Myanmar. Last month, they recovered 300kg heroin which was brought from Afghanistan by air,” he said.

“Most of the drug peddlers active in Delhi are African nationals. Recently, we arrested many African nationals who were pushing heroin into Punjab via the national capital. Since many of them are lodged in Punjab jails, the local peddlers happen to get in touch with them in prisons,” he added.

A BSF official said, “We increased vigil along the border after the Pulwama terror attack. Now, the force is on a high alert after the abrogation of Article 370 in J&K. These might be the reasons behind decline in the recovery of heroin along the fence.”

First Published: Sep 12, 2019 09:57 IST