Three alleged drug traffickers including an Afghan national were arrested as the National Investigation Agency continued its probe into the seizure of nearly 3,000 kgs of heroin at Gujarat’s Mundra port last year, an official said on Thursday.
The case, registered on September 14, 2021 under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, pertains to the operations of one of the largest international drug smuggling syndicates, run by Daad brothers – Hassan Daad and Hussain Daad – both Afghan nationals who are already wanted by the NIA.
The NIA, which took over the case on October 6, 2021, has filed a chargesheet in the special court in Ahmedabad against 16 people including six wanted in the case on March 14. It filed a supplementary chargesheet against nine more accused on August 29.
Afghan national Rah Matullah, who was residing in Malviya Nagar area of South Delhi, Ishwinder Singh of Panipat, Haryana and Jasbir Singh of Tilak Nagar, Delhi were arrested on Wednesday for their active involvement in the smuggling of heroin in large consignments camouflaged in containers of talc stones and bituminous coal through the maritime route, an NIA spokesperson said.
The official said Matullah, who was especially inducted into India around 8-10 months ago for handling the drug trade network run by the Daad brothers, was arrested along with 3.9 kgs of heroin, while the searches conducted at the residence of Ishwinder Singh led to the recovery of heroin in commercial quantities.
The NIA said multiple consignments of heroin, concealed in apparently innocuous consignments of goods such as semi-processed Talc stones and Bituminous coal, were smuggled into India through different Indian ports, including Mundra, Gujarat and Kolkata and further moved to New Delhi via trucks.
“The investigations revealed a vast and widespread network of drug-traffickers, international facilitators and conduits, importers using fake or shell companies, distributors and local wholesalers and retailers, who are operating a huge international drug smuggling racket from many countries, including Afghanistan, Iran and UAE,” the spokesperson said.
The NIA said the investigations conducted so far have revealed that five consignments of heroin laden goods were imported into India between November 2020 and September 2021.
Three such consignments of semi-processed Talc stones ultimately reached at a warehouse in Neb Sarai, Delhi, which was rented by the absconding accused, Najibullah Khalid in the name of another Afghan national Noorzahi Abdul Salam, the official said.
The official said heroin was segregated from the concealing goods in this warehouse by Afghani experts and then sent for distribution in the market through a network of drug suppliers and peddlers.
The NIA said the concealing material was removed to another warehouse rented out by Shaheen alias “Rock”, an Aghan national and a key associate of Najibullah, through arrested accused Jasbir Singh and Ishwinder Singh. Ishwinder Singh, a known drug distributor, was in direct contact with Javed, an Afghanistan-based accused and a key aide of Hassan Daad, the official said.
On the directions of Javed, Ishwinder Singh, in connivance with Jasbir Singh fabricated false documents and rented a warehouse at Village Hamidpur, Delhi where the semi-processed Talc was shifted from the Neb Sarai warehouse for further disposal, the spokesperson said.
The NIA said sustained examination of Ishwinder Singh revealed the presence of a close aide and associate of Javed, namely Matullah in Delhi, leading to his arrest.