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Heroin trail across seas
- Sleuths unearth druglord’s Swiss connection

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) said druglord Ansar Rehman, arrested from a Salt Lake home on Thursday, was operating an international heroin racket worth no less than Rs 53 crore.

NCB director-general M.K. Singh added on Friday that there was evidence of Rehman having links with some “influential people’’ (read: politicians and police officers) in the city. “We are probing Rehman’s contacts in Calcutta. I have directed my department to get in touch with narcotic officials in Bangladesh, Nepal, Australia, New Zealand and some European countries to probe Rehman’s connections with drug dealers there.’’

Initial investigations have revealed that Rehman had gone to Switzerland earlier this year and stayed there for six months. “He claimed that he had gone on a holiday there with his son but we have evidence to suggest that he had attended a meeting of drug dealers there,’’ Singh said. NCB officials are also probing reports that Rehman had opened a Swiss bank account.

In a Thursday afternoon swoop, an NCB team had picked up Rehman from his Salt Lake home. He later led them to another house in Salt Lake where he had stashed 53.5 kg of heroin in hundreds of small plastic packs.

“We have seized several incriminating documents,’’ added Singh. NCB sources said there were five diaries where names of “influential persons and their telephone numbers” were scribbled. “Rehman had jotted down details of favours sought by these people and when and where he had met them,’’ a source revealed.

Rehman had, reportedly, invested Rs 1.5 crore to procure the heroin that was seized by the sleuths. NCB officers said Rehman had paid the money to his Rajasthan contacts in mid-September. “We are probing where Rehman got so much money to invest,’’ the NCB director said.

Rehman is from Calcutta and initially operated from Rifle Range Road and Jhowtala Street in the Karaya police station area. “He was arrested by the detective department of the city police in 1996 on charges of selling drugs but he managed to obtain bail and went underground in mid-1997,’’ an officer said.

Rehman resurfaced in the winter of 1998, and shifted operations to Salt Lake. “He rented two houses in Salt Lake. He lived in one and stocked drugs in the other,’’ an NCB officer said.

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