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Arrests train scanner on heroin cartel

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is zeroing in on a drug cartel smuggling heroin into Bangladesh through Calcutta and then shipping the drugs to Europe. NCB director M.K. Singh said the lid was blown off the racket with the arrest of four key persons from Allahabad on Tuesday, with heroin worth Rs 30 crore in the European market. They were on their way to the city with the consignment.

The NCB and city police are on the lookout for the cartel’s Calcutta contacts. “We have collected some telephone numbers and addresses in the city by tapping conversations among members of the cartel over the past couple of months,’’ a senior NCB officer said.

Singh arrived in the city on Thursday with senior NCB officers to coordinate investigations. A telephone booth in Barasat was raided on Wednesday night to track down a key city contact of the cartel.

“Detectives traced the public call kiosk number from the computerised call-sheet of the tapped phone numbers. The person called cartel members regularly from that particular booth, but we could not make much headway in the raid,’’ Singh said.

Director-general of police D.C. Vajpai and city police chief Sujoy Chakraborty said officers are in touch with the NCB sleuths to track the cartel’s city contacts. Officers of the NCB identified one of the persons arrested in Allahabad as Dinesh Verma, adding that Uttar Pradesh police are verifying his identity and antecedents.

“These people travel with fake or forged identities and documents. Our initial probe revealed that Verma and his associates frequently carried drugs into the city, and they passed on consignments to their city contacts,’’ Singh said.

“The arrested persons have told the police about their networks in Calcutta and the manner in which the drugs are shipped to Bangladesh and then on to the European countries,’’ Singh added.

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