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Rajasthan opium racket: Narcotics officers got 50% share of illegal sale, reveals probe

The revelation comes after a major racket, allegedly run by the officials of Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) in collusion with drug smugglers, was unearthed by the Rajasthan ACB last week.

jaipur Updated: Apr 09, 2019 15:46 IST
Jaykishan Sharma
Jaykishan Sharma
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
opium farming in rajasthan,chittorgarh,rajasthan opium racket
A Rajasthan ACB officer alleged that the accused narcotics officials used to earn huge profits during the entire cycle of opium production and inspection.(HT File / Photo used for representational purpose)

Chittograh’s narcotics officers used to get a share of up to 50 per cent in profits from opium sold illegally to peddlers across the country, according to officials of the Rajasthan Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB).

The revelation comes after a major racket, allegedly run by the officials of Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) in collusion with drug smugglers, was unearthed by the ACB last week. CBN is the agency responsible for regulating opium cultivation in the state.

“During investigation, we came to know that a cultivator is allowed to grow around 9-10 kg opium in his 1,000 square metre farm. But here in Chittorgarh, the cultivator in connivance with narcotics officers used to grow 20-22kg opium which is double than the permissible limit,” said an ACB officer who did not want to be identified.

The anti-corruption bureau (ACB) on April 4 had booked superintendent of Chittorgarh, narcotics bureau, Sudheer Kumar Yadav, sub-inspector Bhanu Pratap Singh and head constable Praveen Singh under Prevention of Corruption Act (PC ACT). Along with the narcotics officers, two opium brokers were also arrested under NDPS Act from whom 125 kg opium, 66 sacks of opium husk and 16 sacks of poppy seeds, and four illegal firearms were also recovered.

Alok Tripathi Director General (DG), ACB, alleged that the narcotics official used to earn huge profits during the entire cycle of opium production and inspection. The four major steps of opium production are measurement of land, test measurement, PWR (pre-weight registration) and uprooting.”

According to officials, when ACB trapped the CBN staff, it was time for uprooting the plants after opium extraction. As per CBN norms, opium growers have to destroy the plants after extraction. However, some farmers used to burn only a few plants and sell the rest along with its byproducts to peddlers through agents.

The arrested CBN officials instead of making a video of opium plants being destroyed, would click photos to manipulate records, said an ACB official.

Agents Chagan and Kishanw buy one kilogram of opium at Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000 from farmers,” the official said. “Both the agents used to take advantage of the fact that the farmers did not know the so called big peddlers who can pay them handsomely for the sale of opium and its byproducts. Government rates for one kilogram of opium vary between Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,500, depending on the quantity of morphine,” the ACB official added.

Additional director general of police, crime branch, Bhagwan Lal Soni said the police will investigate the cases registered under the NDPS Act.

“What was happening in Chittorgarh was taking place in connivance with the CBN officers and farmers. We will investigate the cases of NDPS registered against the agents and the CBN officer,” he said.

First Published: Apr 09, 2019 15:46 IST