The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Drug-runners prefer Salt Lake ‘safe’ zone

Drug-runners have targeted Salt Lake’s VVIP localities for rented accommodation, from which to run their operations, said N.C. Patra, assistant director, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), on Tuesday.

The NCB has been raiding houses in these zones for some years now, seizing drugs and arresting gang members. According to Patra, the gang members “may have thought that in a VVIP locality, they would attract less attention from the police’’.

According to Bureau officials, 32 kg of heroin have also been seized near the home of a former state director-general of police. “The racketeers had rented the place till we got wind of it and raided it,’’ Patra said.

Bureau officials said detectives had, a few years ago, busted drug-running in a house near Karunamoyee, close to the residences of several senior IPS officers and state ministers.

Last October, sleuths raided a house in AJ block and seized 53 kg of heroin, arresting Ansar Rehman and associate Deepak Giri. This address too, said Patra, was close to several IPS officers’ apartments.

In all three cases, the racketeers were using the base to pack the drugs and distribute them for peddling in the city and suburbs. “We also found that Rehman was smuggling drugs to Bangladesh across the North 24-Parganas border,’’ he said. The racket was reportedly on for around six months.

The NCB had sought, said officials, cooperation from the local police to coordinate investigations into more such cases. Additional superintendent of police (Salt Lake) Ajay Nand said there was little the police could do without cooperation of local residents. “We have urged residents to keep the local thana informed about their tenants. The municipality maintains a record of all landlords, but it is impossible to keep tabs on tenants unless residents come forward with information,’’ added Nand. He had sent a proposal to the Bidhannagar Municipality to make it mandatory for landlords to register details of their tenants and maids with the police.

No such record was submitted by CBI’s former additional director Upen Biswas about his tenant, S.N. Thanga, who has been busted for running the drug racket. Biswas admitted that he had not given any information about his tenant to the police as “he was introduced to us by a Mizoram government official and I had no reason to doubt him. I did, however inform Bidhannagar Municipality,’’ Biswas said.

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