The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Drug dealers on run switch routes

Calcutta, March 28: A drive is on in and around the city to clean up the drug network whose tentacles spread across the state.

Police have picked up 32 key narcotics suppliers from Rajarhat in North 24-Parganas in the past two months.

Reeling under the impact of the arrests, the drug suppliers, who had initially selected Dakshindari in Lake Town as their base, have re-routed their consignments to the city through the fringe areas of North and South 24-Parganas.

Police sources said those netted include notorious criminals Asif Ali, Aftab Ali, his wife Sanara Bibi, Biplab Mandol and Tridib Mitra. The police have identified them as key players closely associated with the kingpin, Tapu to his associates, who is absconding.

Determined to get leads on him, the police are now grilling Tapu’s aides.

“Rajbati is the fringe area between Rajarhat and Barasat police stations. We had information that this area was being used by the drug suppliers to vend their stuff. Acting on specific tip-offs, we conducted a series of raids and arrested several notorious criminals in February,” said officer Paresh Roy, who was in charge of Rajarhat police station during the crackdown.

He was recently transferred to Mahestala police station in South 24-Parganas in view of the Lok Sabha elections in May.

Roy’s transfer has been a boon for the drug mafia. Convinced that the new officer-in-charge will take a while to acclimatise himself with the prevailing situation, the racketeers are now sending their supply to the city through a new route.

“In this new route the narcotics are coming from Ghutiari Sharif and Bhangar in South 24-Parganas to Haroa and Rajarhat in the north, bypassing the earlier way to Rajarhat from Ghutiari Sharif via Jadavpur and Park Circus. The drugs are coming to the pedlars in the city from Rajarhat through VIP Road, Lake Town and Cossipore,” an official of Rajarhat police station said.

Lake Town police station officer-in-charge Sitaram Sinha said: “In the last six months, we beefed up vigilance in the Dakshindari area. This forced the pedlars, who used to procure their supply through the Ultadanga railway station, to start operating from Cossipore instead.”

The re-routing of drug consignments came to light after a pedlar was picked up from Ekbalpore Lane in the city last month. Interrogations revealed that the city’s drug supply was coming from the fringe areas of Rajarhat.

“Several youths who are drug dealers have been pin-pointed. Some of them have been arrested,” said D. Nath, the police officer in charge of Baguiati.

Nath said notorious extortionists as well as petty thieves are being sucked into the narcotics trade. Easy and quick money are luring the young traffickers into the business.

“Known criminals have been arrested several times in the last three months but they keep getting out on bail and continue business as usual,” Nath said.

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