The Chandigarh zonal unit of the Narcotics Control Bureau has busted an international drug syndicate operating from Ludhiana and arrested 16 people, including two Afghanistan nationals, a senior official said on Monday.
The NCB official said in Mohali that the action against the syndicate smuggling heroin began on November 15 last year with seizure of the contraband and arrest of a person.
During follow-up raids and searches, the NCB unit busted the entire chain of this international drug syndicate, Deputy Director General (Northern Region) of the NCB Gyaneshwar Singh told reporters.
During investigations, the NCB busted two heroin processing laboratories in Ludhiana which were being operated by Afghan nationals, who have been arrested.
"A special investigation team under Amanjit Singh, Zonal Director, NCB-Chandigarh, has been formed and includes investigating officers from various NCB zones as this international drug syndicate is spread across various countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. and different states across India," he said.
Specialised financial investigation and technical investigation teams have also been formed in this case and more than 60 bank accounts relating to this group have been "debit freezed" and freezing orders under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act are under consideration, he said.
In November, the NCB seized 20.36 kg of heroin and arrested Sandeep Singh from Ludhiana.
According to the NCB, Sandeep Singh is one of the close associates of Akshay Kumar Chhabra, the arrested kingpin of this drug syndicate who allegedly had links in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The NCB official said Akshay Kumar Chhabra's primary modus operandi was to import heroin/morphine from Afghanistan through cargo route and manufacture more heroin in Ludhiana itself.
The arrested Afghan nationals have been identified as Qari Hamidullah Yusufi and Hakim Salimi, a chemist and associate of Yusufi.
The duo were allegedly involved in processing and manufacturing of heroin in Punjab, New Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh.
Thirty properties purchased by this syndicate from proceeds of drug sales have been identified and necessary action is being taken against them, Gyaneshwar Singh said.
He said it has also come to light during the investigation that this group was operating night clubs and restaurants in the tricity region of Chandigarh-Mohali-Panchkula. It is being inquired into in detail.
"Also, various other front businesses of this international drug syndicate like liquor vends, rice mill, ghee business and different agencies of reputed brands and role of their associates are being inquired into," he said.
The agency has so far seized 34.66 kg of heroin, 5.47 kg of morphine, 0.557 kg of opium, 23.64 kg suspected narcotics powder in connection with the case.
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