The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Govt employee in drug trade

Calcutta, Aug. 19: Officials of the preventive-wing of the customs today arrested a government employee from Kulpi in South 24-Parganas, about 60 km from here, after they found heroin worth Rs 46 lakh in his house.

Officer-in-charge of the customs unit .C. Bhowmik said they were working on a tip-off. The house of Kalidas Mondal, an employee of a reputed scientific research institute in Calcutta, was raided and packets stuffed with heroin were found hidden under cow dung cakes. Mondal was arrested.

Only a month ago, a fishmonger identified as Sukumar Roy was arrested from Diamond Harbour in the same district for possessing drugs. About the same quantity of narcotics was recovered from his possession as from Mondal’s house. In Roy’s case, it was brown sugar.

Bhowmik said a team of four officers left the customs office at Diamond Harbour for Dakshin Sukdebpur in Kulpi after receiving specific “information”. They surrounded Mondal’s house, moved in and mounted a search.

The officer said it appeared that the packets containing heroin had come via Singapore. But they were sealed in a box and wrapped in pages of a Hindi daily published from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

“We are trying to find out the route through which the consignment came. During interrogation, Mondal feigned ignorance and the officials are yet to make out if it was sent from Singapore to Kanpur on way to Kulpi for sale in Calcutta,” he said.

Mondal told the officers that he was being made a scapegoat and had no knowledge about what was in the packets.

The investigating officials are still in the dark about the probable places where the drug was to be marketed. “We are looking into various possibilities. First, we have to establish whether the consignment was meant for export or import. It could be meant for export to Bangladesh through the porous river border or for local consumption,” he added.

A senior police official said drug smugglers opt for Diamond Harbour, Kakdwip and Namkhana as they are close to the porous border. “As the international border is marked by many rivers and streams, the area cannot be guarded absolutely by the security forces, which makes it a haven for drug smugglers.”

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