The seizure of 10 kg of crude heroin from two persons near Nigambodh Ghat on Ring Road last year by the special cell of Delhi Police has laid bare a well-oiled network of inter-State drug cartel operating between Manipur, West Bengal, and Delhi.
The details of the inter-State drug network came out in a judgment delivered by the Delhi High Court last week in which it rejected the bail plea of a man from Malda in West Bengal, who allegedly was also part of the cartel.
Tip-off and seizure
On June 22, last year, the special cell got a tip-off that one Md Samiual alias Raj and Md Mukhtiyar, both residents of West Bengal, were bringing heroin from Manipur to Delhi. The special cell was informed that the duo would be supplying heroin at Nigambodh Ghat on Ring Road towards ISBT Kashmere Gate and they would be in a pick-up vehicle.
A raiding party was set up. About 11.30 a.m., one pick-up van was spotted coming from Yamuna Bazar flyover. The vehicle was stopped and the two people who de-boarded the vehicle were overpowered.
After serving notices under Section 50 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, a search of their bags was carried out. Five kg of heroin was seized from a black backpack carried by Mr. Samiual while another five kg was found in a black backpack carried by Mr. Mukhtiyar.
A case was registered. During investigation, the duo revealed that they were part of a narcotics syndicate. They also said that they worked for one Manju Didi, a resident of Manipur, and the seized heroin was taken from her. The duo claimed that the contraband was crude heroin.
They further said that they had been working in the heroin trade for the last one to one-and-a-half years with Manju Didi and they had supplied the drug to Abul Kalam alias Sultan, a resident of Malda in West Bengal.
The special cell told the court that on receipt of information, some mobile numbers were put on surveillance after obtaining requisite permissions. After monitoring the interception, it was revealed that all the accused were communicating with their associates in code words.
On June 27, 2020, Mr. Samiual was made to call Mr. Kalam from his mobile number about the supply of four kg of heroin. The next day, a special cell team arrested Mr. Kalam in West Bengal and later, brought him to the Capital. However, during a search, no drugs were seized from his possession.
Further investigation revealed that all the accused had taken SIM cards by furnishing fictitious addresses so that they could not be traced. Mr. Kalam’s mobile number was found in the name of one Phutu Tudu, a resident of Shampur Tapan village, Dakshin Dinajpur, West Bengal. On verification, Mr. Phutu Tudu said that he had never purchased the said number and it did not belong to him.
Similarly, the mobile number found with Mr. Samiual was in the name of one Kanai Mahanta of Gangarampur Naya Bazar, Dakshin Dinajpur. On verification, it was revealed that no person in the name of Kanai Mahanta resided in the village.
Grant or rejection of bail under the NDPS Act is governed by Section 37 of the Act. Under Section 37, the court before granting bail has to be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accused is not guilty of such offences and is not likely to commit any offence while on bail.
On behalf of Mr. Kalam, it was argued that no contraband was seized from his possession and that he was arrested based on the disclosure statement of Mr. Samiual and Mr. Mukhtiyar.
Justice Subramonium Prasad, however, said that the facts of the present case disclosed that the accused had taken mobile numbers on the basis of fictitious addresses so that they could not be traced.
“All this indicates that the petitioner (Mr. Kalam) and his associates are part of the well-organised syndicate and are involved in inter-State transport, supply and sale of drugs,” the High Court said.
“Material placed at this juncture is sufficient to indicate that the petitioner (Mr. Kalam) herein is part of the criminal conspiracy to commit offences under the NDPS Act,” Justice Prasad said while rejecting his bail.