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Four who were held with drugs near Mumbai had plans to open a factory

The accused were arrested in Kasarwadavli with around 20,000 strips of Tramadol (hydrochloride) tablets, which have a market value of around ₹5 crore per 10mg

mumbai Updated: Sep 27, 2018 00:27 IST
Arvind Walmiki
Arvind Walmiki
Hindustan Times
mumbai,indore,drugs
The Thane anti-extortion cell officers with the seized drugs, on Wednesday.(HT Photo)

A day after four people were arrested by the Thane Anti Extortion Cell (AEC) for the possession of the drug Tramadol, investigations have revealed that the accused planned to open a factory. The drug had been manufactured in Indore, the police said.

The four were arrested in Kasarwadavli with around 20,000 strips of Tramadol (hydrochloride) tablets, which have a market value of around ₹5 crore per 10mg. A team that has been formed to investigate will soon be dispatched to Indore.

The accused Mayur Pravin Mehta, 47, who works as a domestic help, was the first one to be arrested. Based on the information provided by Mehta, a trap was laid to arrest the other three – Romel Laurence Vaj, 51, who has a cable and construction business in Chira Bazar; Santosh Raghunath Pandey, 41, who owns a factory in Indore where the drug was manufactured; and Dipak Bhogilal Kothari, who owns a construction business and a mobile shop.

Pradeep Sharma, senior police inspector, Thane AEC, said, “We have found that the accused changed the name of the drug by a single letter from ‘Tramadol’ to ‘Tamadol’, as a result of which they used to get past customs check while exporting the drug. Tramadol has been banned under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances(NDPS) Act.”

Tramadol is also used by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), said sources.

“We are investigating as to who the drugs were to be supplied to. Vaj and Mehta sought Pandey’s help to manufacture the drug and Kothari’s help to finance the manufacturing process. We have got a lead that some of the stock is in Ahmedabad and will soon send a team there. We have lodged a case under relevant sections of the NDPS Act at the Kasarwadavli police station,” said a police officer.

The accused were produced in court and have been remanded in police custody till October 1.

First Published: Sep 27, 2018 00:27 IST