Shaheen Bagh drug bust brings focus back on Gujarat where Rs 25,000 cr of drugs were recovered in last 7 mths

The recovery of high-quality drugs worth Rs 100 crore from Shaheen Bagh in Delhi by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has raised the possibility of international drug cartels in the business

Representative Photo
Representative Photo

NH Political Bureau

The recovery of high-quality drugs worth Rs 100 crore from Shaheen Bagh in Delhi by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has raised the possibility of international drug cartels in the business.

Shaheen Bagh – a Muslim dominated area of the capital city which drew attention of the international community for the anti CAA-NRC protest – is in the news for the drug-seizure since yesterday.

The NCB has, after the seizure, said that the “narco-terrorism module” may be involved in the case.

However, a close scrutiny of drugs recovered from the BJP ruled state, Gujarat reveals what has been recovered from Shaheen Bagh is just a tip of the iceberg.

The iceberg of the drug cartel is lying in the Arabian sea – off the Gujarat coast towards the Pakistan-Iran border.

The Director-General of NCB, SN Pradhan told media after the Shaheen Bagh recovery that “there is every possibility of narco-terrorism module. The network is connected to Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East. So, there is every chance that there may be a narco-terrorism module. However, it is subject to investigation.”

The “network” which Pradhan hinted at during his briefing does include Gujarat as an important halt.

According to an estimate, drugs worth about Rs 250,00 crore have been recovered from Gujarat since September 2021.

A look at the high-profile drugs seizure-

March 2021

Drugs worth Rs 3000 crore were recovered with five AK-47 rifles from Minicoy Island by the Indian coast guard from the southern seacoast.

Investigation revealed that the boat carrying drugs to India belonged to Sri Lankan Nationals. 19 people were arrested.

September 2021

In September 2021, a large consignment of the banned drugs worth Rs 21,000 crore was recovered from Mundra port owned by Gautam Adani.

Though nobody knows what happened to the large quantity of drug that was seized, the investigation was handed over to the NIA. A report published in the The Hindu says that the seizure was tracked to Aashi Trading Company, which is registered at an address in a middle-class locality in Vijayawada. The Hindu report claimed while small fish were caught in Mudra drug haul case, the “investigation reached a dead end”.

December 2021

Three months after the Mundra port drug seizure, drugs worth Rs 400 crore were seized from a Pakistan boat off the Gujarat coast in a midnight operation by the Gujarat ATS.

April 2022

In April alone drugs worth Rs 1700 have been recovered from Gujarat in two separate incidents.

News agency PTI reported that heroin worth Rs 1,439 crore was seized near Kandla port in Gujarat and the importer was arrested from Punjab during the search operation conducted by the DRI.

Senior police officials said that the contraband was recovered from one of the 17 containers which had arrived from Iran at Kandla port in September- October last year.

In a separate incident Gujarat ATS and the Indian Coast Guard apprehended a boat from Pakistan with a consignment of drugs worth about Rs 300 crores. Nine Pakistani nationals were arrested during the operation.

According to Gujarat watchers, in the last seven months drugs worth Rs 25,000 crore have been recovered from Gujarat only.

“What does this frequent recovery of high-quality drugs from Gujarat show? Gujarat has become an important hub for drug smuggling/route for drug import. The bigger and the most bothersome question is, why the BJP which has ruled Gujarat for more than 20 years is silent on the issue”, asked a Gujarat watcher on condition of anonymity.

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