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Drug glare on Mizoram staff

Calcutta, May 20: The Narcotics Control Bureau today kicked off a two-pronged probe — spanning Paris and Calcutta — to unravel the mystery of the drug haul from the rented ground floor of former CBI officer Upen Biswas’s home.

In the first step, the bureau’s city unit took a look inside Mizoram House, which investigators felt could throw up vital clues to how Biswas’s Salt Lake home became an important link in the multi-crore international Ah Hua drug cartel.

The second step was taken by bureau director-general M.K. Singh, who flew to Paris to coordinate with law-enforcing agencies of other countries in putting together the drug-route jigsaw that spanned China, India and the US.

Tipped off by the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency of the US, bureau sleuths yesterday raided the ground floor of Biswas’s CG-22 home and seized 24 kg of ephedrine hydrochloride, which could have produced over 1,00,000 amphetamine-type stimulant tablets worth Rs 10 crore. Three Myanmarese and two Chinese nationals, all cartel members, were arrested.

An unaware Biswas was baffled that a drug racket was using part of his house.

The bureau today sought details from Biswas, who retired as a CBI additional director, on how he rented part of his house to the accused.

Biswas said he did not know the five accused and had rented the ground-floor flat to San Niang Thanga after he produced “a letter of introduction” from a senior Mizoram government official. San, said to be an inner-circle member of the cartel, is absconding since yesterday.

Bureau assistant director .C. Patra said the letter was signed “Lalthanga” by a Mizoram House receptionist, H. Lalawizaura. “The letter, on a Mizoram government letterhead that carried only the addresses of its Calcutta establishments, was not addressed to Biswas himself, but was in the nature of a to-whom-it-may-concern document, devoting a couple of paragraphs to introducing San Niang Thanga,” he said.

Lalawizaura and a Mizoram Emporium staffer Mathani were detained today.

Bureau officials said early investigations hinted at a Chennai angle — where the drug was manufactured — and the existence of some city contacts of San.

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