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Rebels take ‘pseudo’ route to fast buck
Tablets used to fund terror

Guwahati, Feb. 25: Organised gangs in Delhi are procuring huge quantities of pseudoephedrine manufactured by pharmaceutical factories in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab and sending it to Manipur to be smuggled to Myanmar.

According to security sources, gangs led by Manipur-based militant outfits such as Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) and two factions of the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) — the Military Council and the Mobile Task Force, are buying pseudoephedrine from the local distributors in Delhi and then sending it to Manipur.

One of the sources said a nexus between militants, security personnel and criminals was responsible for largescale smuggling of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine to Myanmar, where it is used for making party drugs in clandestine factories. “The money these militant groups make from smuggling of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine is primarily used for funding their anti-national and separatist activities, which is a very dangerous trend,” he said.

The arrest of an army colonel in Manipur yesterday on charges of smuggling the controlled substance shows how deep-rooted the malaise has become.

Ephedrine is a chemical used to prepare medicines for treatment of asthma while pseudoephedrine is used to treat nasal and sinus congestion. In India, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are controlled substances and individuals cannot possess these chemicals without permission from competent authorities.

The manufacture and consumption of these controlled chemicals, which are high-degree stimulants, is banned in most countries but in India, these can be manufactured and sold under licence for medical use.

“The smuggling of precursor chemicals to Myanmar is highly lucrative because party drugs have a demand in the international market. These drugs are produced in underground labs in Myanmar and smuggled to countries across the world,” he said.

The source said investigations carried out by various drug enforcement agencies and Delhi police had confirmed the involvement of KYKL and KCP in smuggling these precursor chemicals.

Party drugs — also known as synthetic drugs and mostly taken as pills — are particularly attractive to young people because they produce a sense of high energy and a release from social inhibitions.

The source said the investigations conducted by the special cell of Delhi police had revealed that one Khumanba alias IK, a top commander of KYKL, was financing his anti-national activities through investments made in the narcotics trade with the assistance of one John, who is based in Delhi. They had even established a godown in the Janakpuri area in West Delhi, where large quantities of the narcotic substances were being stored for onward transmission to Myanmar and China via Manipur.

Officiating zonal director of Narcotics Control Bureau, Guwahati zonal unit, Madho Singh, who is currently in Manipur in connection with the investigation into yesterday’s seizure, said big gangs were involved in smuggling of these precursor chemicals. To stop this, they are trying to identify the drug stockists, distributors and retailers who are diverting these medicines for illegal use, he added over phone.

On the arrest of the army colonel, he said the case was under investigation but till now, they didn’t have any evidence to suggest involvement of more army personnel in the racket. “Smuggling of these chemicals through the Northeast is going on for the past several years as many such seizures were made in the past also. But it will be difficult for me to say exactly since when it is going on,” he said.


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