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Seven held as police bust international drug racket in Jammu

JAMMU: Seven people, including two who were accused in the 2005 Delhi blast case, were arrested in connection with the seizure of 62 kg of heroin and opium last month near the Indo-Pak border here, police said on Saturday.

The seizure was made on the intervening night of September 19 and 20 by a joint team of the Jammu Police and the Border Security Force (BSF) near the Budhwar Post, Inspector General (IG) of Police, Jammu Zone, Mukesh Singh, told reporters here.

With these arrests an international drugs racket has been busted, police claimed and added that the drugs consignment was dropped by unidentified Pakistani smugglers near the border.

Two of the seven accused in the narcotics case were earlier arrested in the 2005 Delhi blast case, Singh said, adding that the involvement of terrorists in using drugs to fund their activities cannot be ruled out.

"During the intervening night of September 19 and 20, a smuggling bid was foiled by a joint party of Jammu Police and Border Security Force (BSF) at Bullay Chak near Budhwar Post in Arnia area, leading to the seizure of 61 packets of heroin, one packet of opium, two pistols, three magazines and 100 live cartridges," the IG said.

Each packet of heroin and opium weighed one kg, according to police.

The seven were arrested during raids in different places in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said.

Those arrested were identified as Jash Raj Singh of Sai Kalan, Subash Chander of Sai Phagala, Sham Lal of Arnia, Gurbakash Singh of Bhour Camp Satwari, Bishan Dass alias Raju of Akhnoor, Ajeet Kumar alias Kala of Khour and Guru Partap Singh of Taran Taran in Punjab, he said, adding that Ajeet Kumar and Dass were accused in the 2005 blast case.

During investigation, it was found that Jash Raj Singh and Chander, at the behest of Lal, had gone to the zero-line on the International Border near the Budhwar post to collect the consignment dropped from across the border by unidentified Pakistani smugglers, Singh said.

"Their suspicious movement was noticed and exchange of fire started at the spot, and these two persons, taking the advantage of darkness, managed to escape leaving behind the huge consignment which was recovered by the joint teams of police and the BSF," he said.

The Jammu police chief said it was completely a blind case and no lead was available as the recovery had taken place near the border fence and there was no information about the sender or the receiver.

"Working on technical and human intelligence, a special team of the police analysed old records and after hectic efforts busted the gang of international drug traffickers with the arrest of seven accused so far," the IG said.

"Both Dass and Ajeet had a history of drug cases and were earlier arrested in the 2005 Delhi blast case. Ajeet''s brother, Sarfu is based outside India and is wanted in various heroin smuggling cases in Jammu and Kashmir," Singh said.

He said preliminary investigations revealed that this racket has two parts - one based in India and the other based in Pakistan and Dubai.

"On our side, there were three sub-groups working in tandem with each other. First group used to visit border villages to identify possible receiving points and then collect the consignment to deliver it to the second group based in Jammu, the main supplier who further dispatched the consignment to Punjab, where it was received and sold by the third group," the officer said.

Lal, who was found to be involved in drug cases in Punjab, was the assigned the task of identifying the location along the border for smuggling of drugs from Pakistan, Singh said.

He said Ajeet was behind a failed attempt to smuggle 11 kgs of heroin from the same sector in 2014 while another consignment of 10 kgs of heroin was smuggled through the sector to Punjab in early September.

The IG said the Jammu police over the past one year has launched a war against drugs and efforts are on to identify and arrest the main suppliers to root out the drug menace. Earlier, he said, 12 kgs of heroin was recovered about three months back from Rajouri district, while another consignment of three kg heroin was seized in the Mendhar sector of Poonch district a few days back.

To a question, Singh said there is a possibility of terrorists using drugs to fund their activities.

He said that as far as the terrorist angle is concerned, investigation is ongoing.

"There is a possibility because two of the accused were earlier involved in terror activities and the recovery of two pistols also points towards it," IG Singh said.

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PTI