Kerala

Aadhaar card misuse suspected in bid to smuggle ganja

The ganja seized from a courier firm in the city could have been sent using an unscrupulously obtained Aadhaar card, excise officials suspect.

The excise enforcement and narcotic special squad had seized 2.5 kg of ganja, which was found hidden in small sachets, from a carton containing rice powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder meant for Dubai.

The copy of an Aadhaar card submitted at the time of sending the parcel guided excise officials to the house of a 23-year-old youngster in Kannur. “It emerged that he has not been to Kannur for the past many months. So it was unlikely that he could have sent that parcel and whoever did it could have used the Aadhaar card without his knowledge. We are now collecting CCTV footage from the local courier firm in Kannur and its immediate neighbourhood. We have also established surveillance and are operating jointly with our counterparts in Kannur,” said a senior excise official.

Since the firm did not have international service, the parcel was sent to the firm in Kochi where the 27-kg carton evoked the suspicion in the operator who alerted the officials. The parcel was meant for a shop in Dubai. Incidentally, it was the same firm from which MDMA, a narcotic substance, worth around ₹200 crore was seized in a similar attempt to push it through in the guise of a consignment of saris in September 2018.

Link to Wednesday’s seizure

Excise officials suspect that a yet-to-be-arrested Kannur resident suspected to be involved in the seizure of 140 kg of ganja from the Ernakulam rural limits on Wednesday could be linked to the seizure from the courier firm as well. Though excise officials suspect a six-member-gang to be involved in the attempted smuggling, it could be confirmed only after any arrest is made.

“The ganja could have been sourced from Andhra Pradesh. Considering the limits of the excise in probing a case with international links, we would share the information with the Narcotics Control Bureau and the Central Intelligence Bureau,” the official said.

Liaison with courier firms

The Excise Department had recently established a liaison with nearly 160 courier firms in the district after it emerged that in a few recent incidents drugs were ordered online and procured through courier. “We have asked the courier firms to alert us on suspect parcels and the seizure was the result of such cooperation,” said the official.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 2:22:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/aadhaar-card-misuse-suspected-in-bid-to-smuggle-ganja/article33177846.ece

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