NAVI MUMBAI: The recently busted Rs 362-crore drugs haul case at Panvel in Navi Mumbai, has now been handed over to the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Navi Mumbai unit after a specific ‘Pakistani foreign hand’ lead emerged.
Sources in the Navi Mumbai police confirmed that ATS will now be further investigating the drugs case.
The Navi Mumbai crime branch had earlier informed the media that the drugs seizure was done on July 14 from a shipping container kept at a logistics firm in Ajivali, Panvel. The drugs were smartly hidden behind the metal door frame of the container by making certain alterations in it.
Sources informed that this particular shipping container had stayed for an unusually long period in Afghanistan last year, before being sent to Dubai, and finally to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) in December 2021. Navi Mumbai police have already quizzed a Delhi-based importer, H Sethi, and his clearing agent from Mundra, Mahendra Rathod; after which a few more leads emerged which are said to be nationally sensitive. The duo were arrested.
The hidden drug in the container was heroin weighing 72.518 kg, and worth over Rs 362 crore. The heroin was concealed in 168 packets and the operation was conducted after a tip-off was received from Punjab police.
It is believed that the alterations in the container were done while it was kept in Afghanistan, in order to hide the packets of heroin inside the metal door frame. The Navi Mumbai unit of ATS will now further investigate to find the missing links.
Deputy commissioner of police (crime) Suresh Mengade said, “In the heroine seizure case, the crime branch has prepared an investigation report of around 1500 pages consisting of technical evidence of the accused involved in the around 73 kgs heroin seized from Navkar Logistics in Ajivali village, Panvel on July 14. The investigation report has been handed over to Navi Mumbai unit of ATS for further probe after the seized heroin contraband’s links with international drugs suppliers was established. After arresting two accused — H Sethi from Delhi and M Rathod from Mundra in Gujarat, we have identified five more accused hailing from Punjab, who are suppliers of drugs and middlemen. Their details have been mentioned in the probe report submitted to ATS.”