Kala Saboon eats into rabdi’s business in Mumbai. Neither soap, nor sweet, these 2 are drugs | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Kala Saboon eats into rabdi’s business in Mumbai. Neither soap, nor sweet, these 2 are drugs

Kala Saboon was gangsters’ code word for RDX—the explosive that caused mayhem during the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts

mumbai Updated: Sep 07, 2017 00:30 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
Haji’s interrogation revealed how contraband was transported in trucks carrying apples from J&K to fruit godowns in Mumbai and Vashi.
Haji’s interrogation revealed how contraband was transported in trucks carrying apples from J&K to fruit godowns in Mumbai and Vashi.

Kala Saboon, a black soap like charas made in Jammu and Kashmir, is in demand in the city, leaving behind another semi-liquid variant of charas – rabdi – from Himachal Pradesh, said sources from the anti-narcotics cell (ANC).

“The high-potent Kala Saboon has completely eaten into Rabdi’s clientele base,” said a senior ANC official, requesting anonymity.

Kala Saboon was gangsters’ code word for RDX—the explosive that caused mayhem during the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts.

Recently, the ANC sleuths intercepted a call from a J&K number which mentioned the drug. The sleuths were keeping track of a narcotics smuggler from the valley, 67-year-old Haji Rehman Sheikh alias Haji Baba. A resident of Ananag district, Haji had been handed out 20 years of rigorous imprisonment by a NDPS court in Mumbai for a drug offence in 2011. He came out on bail in 2014 and went underground.

However, a series of drug busts by the ANC earlier this year gave the sleuths specific leads that Haji’s activities had resumed.

“We started tracking him by stimulating our channels,” said ANC chief Shivdeep Lande.

Haji was found in a rundown lodge at Dongri in July, unearthing the 20-kg black soap consignment kept in J&K apple cartons. Haji then revealed that Kala Saboon was a code name used for charas by smugglers in the Valley owing to the texture and form of the sticky narcotic before it is given the shape of a soap, said ANC officials.

“Haji was a major catch for us as he was the main carrier of contraband consignments of a J&K-based syndicate, headed by one Chhota Johar, a resident of Sambhal,” the senior ANC official said, adding the crackdown on synthetic drugs in the city, including Mephedrone (MD), pushed the demand for charas. The price has shot up to Rs4 lakh a kg from Rs1.25 lakh a kg in January.

Haji’s interrogation revealed how contraband was transported in trucks carrying apples from J&K to fruit godowns in Mumbai and Vashi.

The cartel used to hide small quantities of charas (15-20kg) inside boxes containing apples. “The transporter was told the boxes were meant for friends in Mumbai who would claim it at the Mandi (market) where the consignment was offloaded,” the official said. Before the truck left Srinagar, Haji would take a train [or flight] to Mumbai. “Once in Mumbai, he used to inform local peddlers about the consignment and fix the date of delivery. He used to go to the offloading point, claim the boxes and take a taxi to the hotel in Dongri,” sources said, adding that he has been using the same taxi for the past two years.

At the hotel room, he would split the consignment into smaller packs. “The same taxi would be used to distribute the packets across Mumbai and Navi Mumbai in one day,” sources said. The taxi driver would be paid a premium of Rs10,000-Rs12,000 a day. The driver is likely to be arrested soon.

The business runs on cash-on-delivery mode and Haji used to spend the next week in the city purchasing cloth and dress material for his shop in Srinagar. “He is otherwise known as a businessman in the J&K capital city,” Lande said.

Haji’s arrest led to the interception of another conduit of a different cartel, Ishfaq Ahmed Reshi, a second-year BSc student from Srinagar, from near Oberoi mall in Goregaon on Sunday. He was arrested with a consignment of 15kg of charas worth around Rs60 lakh. From his interrogation, it has been revealed that he worked for another cartel headed by one “Hakim” for a commission. The modus operandi used by the cartel to smuggle the contraband into the city is similar to Haji’s group’s.

“There are several J&K drug cartels operating in the city. We are on their trail,” Lande said.