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IPS officer caught peddling drugs

Jan. 25: An IPS officer known for “record” hauls in an earlier stint as a narcotics-buster has been arrested for allegedly peddling seized heroin, Mumbai police have said.

Saji Mohan was caught with 12kg of heroin, said to be worth Rs 12 crore in the international market, from a hotel in Mumbai’s Oshiwara last night, a week after two men were held with 1.8kg of the drug allegedly supplied by him.

Mohan, a 1995 batch officer of the Jammu and Kashmir cadre, was a regional director of the Narcotics Control of Bureau (NCB) for two years in Chandigarh, where he was said to have made the “record” drugs seizures.

Transferred early this month, Mohan is now deputy director of the Enforcement Directorate, a central agency that probes tax and foreign exchange violations, in Kochi.

Mumbai ATS head K.P. Raghuvanshi, whose department is handling the case, said the interrogation of the two men picked up eight days ago had led them to Mohan.

“We had seized 1.8 kg of heroin from the duo on January 17. During interrogation, they revealed that a senior police officer had supplied them with the heroin for sale in Mumbai. The two were identified as Vicky Oberoi, who has a prawn-culture business in Mumbai, and Rakesh Kumar, a constable in Gurgaon,” said Raghuvanshi.

Following the disclosures, the ATS kept the arrest of the two men under wraps, laid a trap and caught the IPS officer. Mohan has been booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Prevention) Act for possession of drugs and remanded in police custody till January 30.

Raghuvanshi claimed Mohan, who had received a gallantry award earlier as a police officer and was known in Chandigarh as a “honest and upright” NCB officer, was running a racket to sell the seized drugs in Mumbai.

“During his stint in Chandigarh, Mohan manipulated the quantity of drugs seized and showed smaller quantities on official records,” Raghuvanshi said, adding the NCB had launched its own probe after his arrest.

Vicky and Rakesh, and possibly others, had visited Mumbai before, Raghuvanshi said, suggesting Mohan might have links with drug syndicates. “We are trying to find out who the clients were and their (the sellers’) possible links with drug syndicates in and outside the country.”

In Chandigarh, Mohan’s arrest left his ex-colleagues stunned. “It is shocking an officer who received a gallantry medal could be involved in drug dealings. Some of us had been telling him to stay longer in Chandigarh because of his good work,” an IPS batchmate said.

Part of Mohan’s “good work” was a report on an alleged police-peddler nexus that led to the suspension of five policemen and listed a retired IAS couple’s son as a suspect.

“The heroin seized from Mohan (in Mumbai) could have been part of consignments seized by the NCB during his tenure here,” a Chandigarh police officer said.

Mohan’s “record seizures” were the result of many initiatives he had pushed through, including tighter checks for smuggling of heroin through Amritsar’s Wagah border.

Mohan also kept a close watch on discotheques in Chandigarh and nearby Mohali and Panchkula, looking for possible drug users among their mostly young revellers.

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