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South Asian drug racket: Punjab claims heroin supply-chain broken
Monday June 16, 2014 7:00 PM, IANS

"Bacchu Mian", "Bagga Chairman" and "Anaten" may not be common nicknames but Punjab Police have found that these names were part of a multi-million dollar drugs racket operating in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka even as they claimed to have broken the supply chain of heroin smuggling in the state resulting in "nil availability to consumers".

With heroin seizures hitting an all-time high of 302 kg in less than six months this year, senior Punjab Police officials claim that the well-oiled drugs smuggling network in the state had been smashed.

The heroin seizure (till June 10) is valued at over Rs.1,510 crore in the international market. In 2013, Punjab Police had recovered an all-time high of nearly 417 kg heroin valued at over Rs.2,085 crore as against 279 kg in 2012 and 101 kg in 2011.

This seizure is in addition to the nearly 250 kg of heroin worth Rs.1,250 crore seized by the Border Security Force (BSF) this year (till June) along the 553-km long barbed wire fenced international border between India and Pakistan in Punjab.

Gaurav Yadav, Punjab Police's Inspector General, Counter-Intelligence, said that investigations have revealed that the heroin trafficking chain started from Afghanistan, passed through Pakistan and had distribution links in India and Sri Lanka.

The names mentioned above are those of the drug-lords in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka who are an active part of the racket.

Bacchu Mian is an affluent and well-connected Rampur (Uttar Pradesh)-based recipient of narcotics. His associates Mumtaz Mohammad Ali and Vinod Kumar have been arrested and Bacchu Mian identified as the "end recipient" of the heroin consignments.

The cartel chain starts from Bagga Chairman of Lahore and culminates at Anaten of Sri Lanka who used to collect consignments in Delhi, with several Afghans as couriers in various links.

Another big supply chain of heroin starts with Arif Mohammad alias "Doctor" in Pakistan, transits through Punjab-based smuggler Gurminder Singh alias Lalli and culminates in Delhi-based Nigerians "Attou" and "Peter", Punjab police investigations have revealed.

In India, the distribution links have been established in Punjab, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

"In Punjab, the street price of a gram of heroin is about Rs. 2,000, making it a rich consumer's drug of choice, mostly in urban areas. At present the distribution network in Punjab, as far as heroin is concerned, stands broken and there is nil availability to the consumers," Yadav claimed.

Calling it a "multiplier effect" in the price of heroin as it crosses the international border from Pakistan into India, police claim that the price of the drug doubles and trebles when it reaches border states like Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

"The price increases 3-5 times when heroin reaches Delhi from the border states and 5-10 times when it reaches Mumbai. After transiting through India, the heroin ends up on the streets of North American and European cities. There is manifold increase in the price of heroin when the consignment reaches the international market," Yadav pointed out.

In just five days this month (June 6-10), Punjab Police recovered nearly 26 kg of heroin, worth Rs.130 crore, from various places.

"To avoid detection of heroin during transportation, the consignment was hidden in a cavity inside a mustard seed grinder. Investigations have revealed that Bacchu Mian has also been using Afghan couriers for transporting heroin consignments hidden in capsules," Yadav said.

Police are keeping tabs on smugglers in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to bust the drugs racket.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at

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