Three more arrested in Haridwar

Tribune News Service

P.K. Jaiswal

Amritsar, May 22

Continuing the investigation into the inter-state opioid manufacturing and supply racket at a company in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, the Special Task Force (STF) along with the anti-narcotics wing of the Punjab Police has arrested a company in Haridwar for allegedly being involved in illegal sales. Three residents were arrested. Regarding the misuse of intoxicants by drug abusers.

Police say he sold 118,800 tablets of alprazolam in just a three-month period between October and December 2023.

The arrested persons were identified as Vishu Kumar alias Vishal Kumar, Abhishek Chauhan and Nikhil Garg, all residents of Rawali Mehdood in Jampat (Haridwar). With the arrests, the STF has so far arrested 10 people involved in the incident, said Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Vavinder Mahajan, who is heading the investigation.

The DSP said the three accused had set up a fake company in the name of Sri Shyam Medical in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district. He said an investigation revealed that there was no medical store by that name at the given address. Their interrogation revealed that they received the consignments en route before reaching the specified address and then supplied the consignments at further destinations. The drugs are believed to have been diverted to Punjab for drug abusers.

“Several more names have surfaced and more heads are likely to fly in the upcoming investigations,” Mahajan said, adding that the three have been taken to Amritsar. They will be produced before a local court tomorrow to seek police custody for further investigation.

Till now, the STF has arrested 10 persons in the case and seized around 2.7 million narcotic tablets/capsules and 765 kg narcotic powder, as well as narcotics funds worth Rs 2.37 billion.

The STF has been investigating inter-state syndicates involved in illegal manufacturing and supply of psychotropic drugs for the past three months.The operation has been spread across five states – Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

The STF arrested drug peddlers Sukhwinder Singh of Kot Muhammad Khan village in Tarun Taran and Jaspreet Singh alias Jas of Govind Nagar in Amritsar. Both the persons were arrested after recovering intoxicating tablets/capsules worth Rs 4.24 lakh and drug money worth Rs 100,000 from Beas. In February of this year.

Following investigations, the STF team arrested the ringleader of the crime syndicate, identified as Alex Paliwal, from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh and seized drug money worth Rs 9,04,000 and Rs 1,37,000 from his possession.

After Paliwal’s questioning, the investigation was expanded to Himachal Pradesh. The company’s records traced the supply chain to Aster Pharma in Maharashtra, and further investigative action there led to the exposure of Smilex Pharmachem Drug Industries, a sister company of Baddi-based BioGenetic Drugs Private Limited (a drug manufacturer).

A subsequent operation resulted in the seizure of 47.32 million intoxicating capsules and 725.5 kg of the intoxicant tramadol powder, enough to make 1.5 billion capsules. Records revealed that within a year, Smilex Pharmachem Drug Industries purchased 6,500 kg of the intoxicant tramadol powder.

He said the simultaneous investigation into transportation and distribution led to the arrest of Intezar Salmani, Prince Salmani, Baljinder Singh, Subha Singh and others and unraveled a complex web of interstate drug trafficking.

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