The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Drug haul in Salt Lake

Officials of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) stormed two houses in Salt Lake on Thursday and seized 20 kg of heroin. Kingpin Rehman and two associates were arrested during the drug haul, which the police say is worth Rs 20 crore in the international market.

According to NCB director-general N.K. Singh, the group, which had rented two houses in Salt Lake very recently, was part of an international racket in drug-trafficking. The impounded consignment was meant for the Far East and European countries.

The NCB sleuths swooped down on a house in AG block on Thursday morning. When a youth opened the door, they forced their way in. “After a thorough search, the sleuths could only recover a few grams of heroin in a box,’’ Singh said. “Initially, Rehman refused to co-operate with the sleuths, claiming he was an addict and had stashed the heroin in the box for his consumption,’’Singh added.

But he cracked after two hours of sustained interrogation and revealed that he had rented another house, about a kilometre away, where he had stocked a larger consignment.

The NCB officials claimed that the city police had arrested Rehman a few years ago on charges of peddling drugs. “But he managed to obtain bail and returned to his old ways,’’ they said.

Rehman was well-connected with the drug cartel operating in Rajasthan. Cellular phones, computers and sophisticated gadgets were impounded from his house. The mobile calls were traced to Rajasthan, Delhi, Mumbai and Gorakhpur. Explaining the modus operandi, NCB officials said Rehman’s contacts in Rajasthan would smuggle the drugs to Calcutta, to be ferried across to Bangladesh.

“We had information that Rehman would get his supplies from Rajasthan on long-distance trucks. He would pick up the consignment in Calcutta and pass them across the Bangladesh border inside rice sacks,’’ officers said.

During interrogation, Rehman is reported to have revealed the functioning of the racket and the whereabouts of his contacts in Bangladesh, Bangkok and Singapore. Based on the information, sleuths are picking up the trail of his associates in various parts of the country too.

Thursday’s haul was brought to the NCB office in south Calcutta. Rehman and his two associates were being interrogated till late on Thursday. Officers said they are coordinating with the police to crosscheck the information provided by Rehman.

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