It reads like a script straight out of a Bollywood potboiler — narcotic dealers taking the help of local promoters to gain a firm foothold in their area of operation and these real-estate players preying on ‘powder money’.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) warns that this nexus is “deep-rooted” in Salt Lake, where sleuths busted a drug racket run by the tenants of ex-CBI additional director Upen Biswas.
According to NCB officials, the promoter-drug dealer nexus has assumed alarming proportions in the township. With a number of small and medium projects coming up in Salt Lake over the past few months, sleuths claim they have proof of some of these projects being funded by drug money.
“We have recently conducted raids on the premises of such persons and are working out the details of the case. We have decided to end this nexus once and for all in Salt Lake,” said N.C. Patra, assistant director of the Bureau. Officials said several documents, including bank passbooks, have been seized.
“These promoters are being kept under vigil and we are probing the source of funding of some of the projects undertaken by them in Salt Lake,” an NCB official added. “These promoters and a few others have close links with international drug-dealer Ansar-ul-Rehman, who was arrested from near the house of a former inspector-general of police in Salt Lake last October.”
NCB sources said these real-estate businessmen have “shady backgrounds” and some have several complaints lodged against them in the police stations of Salt Lake and Ultadanga.
Narcotics operators are often helped by these promoters to set up base in the township. “The promoters arrange for the accommodation and even act as local contacts for these dealers, who come from outside,” an official said.
Police officers in Salt Lake feel the promoters’ narcotics links are rooted in the age-old practice of criminal involvement in the real-estate business. “The building boom in the area took off in Lake Town and gradually spread to the adjoining areas of Salt Lake, Dum Dum and other parts close to the airport,” said a senior police officer.
Officials claim a crackdown on the unholy nexus has already begun. “We have recently arrested Pinaki Mitra, who was involved in the real-estate business in Dum Dum’s Green Park area,” the official stated.
Pinaki, he said, was just one of the criminals playing a part in the real-estate business and having “strong connections” with drug-dealers.