The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sleuths drag feet over drug bust case

A few sheaves of paper, touted as vital clues to the cracking of the mystery shrouding the drug-haul from former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) additional director Upen Biswas’ house, are now lying abandoned in a special court of Barasat. No one — not even the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) — seems to have any time for them.

And the case, which has set the police brass on the trail of a global drug-chain with a Salt Lake hub, has not progressed beyond the stage at which the CID had been entrusted to find out how so many foreigners had set up base in the Biswas home.

The CID took over the half of the case falling under the jurisdiction of the Foreigners’ Act within a week of the May 19 bust, while the drug-trafficking section continued to be handled by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), working in tandem with the United States-based Federal Drug Agency.

But almost a month after taking over the case, the CID has not been able to retrieve the papers that could have been instrumental in getting to the bottom of the case. All the documents are still lying with the special court set up in Barasat to deal with cases falling under the purview of the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

“We have not yet brought the documents to our office from the court,” admitted a senior CID official. “We are now in the process of arranging for them to be brought over to our Bhabani Bhavan headquarters,” he added, explaining that all senior officers were busy clearing the backlog of other important cases.

The CID sleuths have not even visited the Dum Dum Central jail yet to interrogate the five foreigners picked up in the Biswas residence raid. “We won’t be able to interrogate them without an interpreter and we are looking for one. If necessary, we will seek help from the NCB in this regard,” the official added.

The NCB sleuths, on their part, had recovered ephydrine hydrochloride — an ingredient to manufacture amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), a substitute for heroin — worth Rs 5 crore, seized two passports, three driving licences, mobile phones and foreign currencies from the arrested five.

“We will verify the passports and driving licences recovered from the accused. The officials working on the case will file an application within a day or two before the judge of the special court under the NDPS Act, at Barasat, to examine these papers. And if we find the documents to be false, all five will be slapped with another additional charge under the Foreigners' Act,” said an official.

Immediately after the racket was busted, the NCB and the CID were engaged to investigate the case. The NCB sleuths were asked to investigate the narcotics and drug-trafficking portion while the CID was assigned to find out whether the arrested five foreigners — three Chinese and two Myanmarese — were staying at Biswas’ house illegally or not. The CID performance sheet remains a blank.

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