(Punjab): The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has stepped
up its probe into the nexus between drugs mafia, NRIs and business
houses in Punjab in the drugs trade, officials said Friday, adding
that the scam could involve over Rs.200 crore of hawala money.
Officials of the ED Friday raided a foreign exchange agency in
Jalandhar and a jeweller in Ludhiana in this connection.
The scam could involve hawala (illegally transmitted remittances)
money worth over Rs.200 crore, ED sources told IANS.
ED assistant director Niranjan Singh also told IANS that the
alleged nexus between the drug mafia, NRIs and business houses was
turning out to be much bigger than earlier expected.
The drugs mafia was manufacturing drug intoxicant 'Ice', which is
in demand among youth in Canada and countries in Europe, from
methamphetamine salt which is believed to be easily available and
cheaper in Punjab.
Police sources here say that the drug, also known as 'Speed', was
being smuggled to other countries from here and the payment was
coming through the hawala transactions. The ED has also put
officials of some airlines, operating from Amritsar international
airport, under the scanner.
The ED, which had conducted raids at nearly 20 places across
Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi in this connection
Wednesday, is likely to conduct more raids in the coming days, the
The raids were conducted to tracking a money-laundering scandal
involving nexus between NRIs and the drugs mafia.
Properties of drugs mafia kingpin Raja Kandola alias Ranjit Singh,
who is himself an NRI and now lodged in Tihar jail following his
arrest from Punjab in August last year for involvement in a Rs.200
crore drugs trade, and others were raided at several places, the
The raids were conducted in Delhi's Karol Bagh area, Paharganj,
Sainik Farms, Gurgaon's DLF colony, in Chandigarh and Punjab's
Jalandhar, Nawanshahr, Sunam, Garhshankar, Abohar, Samrala and
Mohali, ED officials said here.
Niranjan Singh had earlier told IANS that his agency was probing
the nexus of NRI money laundering with the drugs trade. "The
details will come out in investigations," he had said.
The ED registered a case of money laundering against 18 people in
Kandola was arrested by police from a farmhouse in Punjab along
with other accomplices, for his involvement in the drugs trade.
Two separate cases have been registered in Jalandhar and
Hoshiarpur districts against him and others.
In January 2010, Punjab Police unearthed a racket of manufacturing
high-end drugs with the recovery of 18 kg methamphetamine worth
over Rs.90 crore. The drug is considered to be more expensive than
Police found a unit set up for manufacturing 'Ice'.
Police sources said the high-end drugs were being supplied to the
The accused in the drugs and money laundering trade were using
expensive and high-end imported cars.
Punjab is a major transit and destination point for drugs trade in
the region. Every year, various agencies recover hundreds of
kilograms of heroin and other drugs being smuggled from Pakistan
through the international border.