Kerala

Nursing student turns hashish cartel king

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Used MBA student as a bookkeeper

George Kutty, 36, a native of Kottayam, was a promising nursing student in Mangaluru in mid-2000 before he turned to narcotic crimes and emerged as one among the most wanted hashish cartel leaders in south India, according to members of the State Excise Enforcement Squad (SEES).

Investigators said George Kutty, who operated under the alias GK, had remained off the radar for nearly a decade till he stabbed a police officer at Thripunithura in 2016 to escape a drug bust. The police later implicated him in a highway robbery at Ettumanur. An undercover operation headed by SEES chief T. Ani Kumar had led to GK's arrest at Kovalam on June 29.

Undercover operators had duped him into thinking they were genuine buyers and arrested GK when he arrived at Kovalam with 21 kg of hashish oil estimated to have an international price of nearly ₹20 crore.

However, GK escaped excise custody when he was taken to Karnataka to collect evidence on July 2. Excise Commissioner S. Ananthakrishnan authorised a manhunt for the suspect. The SEES chased shadows for nearly 24 days, and GK seemed ahead of them at every step.

The SEES refocussed their attention on his aides in Bengaluru and turned a few of them into informants. It soon learned that a Bengaluru-based MBA student, Anirudh, alias Kunjunni, worked for GK as a bookkeeper.

The SEES arrested Anirudh, who said he had dropped GK at a farm the latter owned at Varigonda in Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh. The trail went cold again till SEES enforcers learned of GK's second wife in Malappuram.

The SEES recruited local informants to mount a stakeout, which resulted in the suspect's arrest. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has complimented the excise officers for their daring act.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 10:11:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/nursing-student-turns-hashish-cartel-king/article28761171.ece

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