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Mumbai DRI probe: Drugs gang’s cartel links under scanner

Officials suspect key members of gang were smuggling Ketamine out of India and selling it to rackets operating in Canada and Africa

mumbai Updated: Jun 19, 2018 01:15 IST
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Gujarat,Canada
DRI had raided 14 residential and industrial places across several states, and seized 308kg of Ketamine, hashish, cocaine and opium, worth ₹35 crore.(PHOTO FOR REPRESENTATION)

Vijay Kumar Yadav

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is probing into the foreign links of the members, arrested for the inter-state Ketamine drug manufacturing and smuggling syndicate, which the agency recently busted. The gang operates internationally in Canada and across Africa.

DRI officials suspect, the key members of the gang-Jimi Singh Sandhu and British national Jonathan Thorn alias John,were smuggling Ketamine out of India and selling it to rackets operating in Canada and Africa.

Sandhu had resided in Canada for a long period, while Thorn had been convicted in multiple drug cases in Britain. Thorn is believed to have used his old contacts to operate the Ketamine racket.

“A majority of our investigation will be focused internationally. We will contact authorities in Canada and Britain and get details of the accused. We have come across a few names, which have links with foreign rackets. We will take their details from our counterparts in these countries,” a DRI official said.

In an operation last week, DRI had raided 14 residential and industrial places across several states, and seized 308kg of Ketamine, hashish, cocaine and opium, worth ₹35 crore. 11 people, including four foreigners, were arrested.

DRI investigators are also trying to trace the overall trail of the money involved in the syndicate’s functioning. Hawala operators were used to channelise the ill-gotten money.

DRI officials said they are in process of identifying properties of the accused persons.

“If facts emerged in the investigations reveal that the accused have made properties from the proceeds of the crime, then we will attach those properties,” said a senior DRI official.

The probe so far has revealed that Maharashtra’s Rasayani-New Panvel area was the hotbed of the entire gang. Bhandup resident Rahul Shedge was the mastermind behind the racket and was running the factory in Rasayani and was supplying semi-finished Ketamine to entire western India - Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa.

The foreigners arrested in the case were operating from Goa and had been processing semi-finished Ketamine (procured from Shedge) into pure Ketamine. They would smuggle the finished product to Canada and Africa. One of the group members of the Goa module of the syndicate had even smuggled drugs to Bangkok.

No links with drug racket: BJP leader

Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leader from North Goa- Vasudev Parab, claimed that he has nothing to do with the drug syndicate. On Monday, the DRI recorded the BJP leader’s statement at its Mumbai office. Parab had allegedly rented his plot to Jimi Sandhu for a monthly rent of ₹70,000 and a deposit of ₹2lakh. On this plot, Sandhu had set up a factory where Ketamine was being manufactured.

“Parab in his statement claimed that he had no idea what chemical was being processed at the factory on his land,” said a DRI official.

There is no indication of Parab’s role in the racket so far in the case.

First Published: Jun 19, 2018 01:13 IST