Gujarat ATS joins Punjab STF in probing 194-kg heroin haul worth Rs 2,000 crore

A two-member team of Gujarat Police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) reached Amritsar Tuesday to join Punjab Police’s investigations into the recovery of 194 kg heroin worth Rs 2,000 crore from a house in the district last week, officials said.

Authorities believe that the heroin seized by Punjab Police’s Special Task Force (STF) on January 31 was part of a 300-kg consignment that they suspect had reached Mandvi coast in Gujarat in 2018.

“A two-member team of inspector rank officers of Gujarat ATS has reached here and will join us in the investigation. It will help us in tracking the drug consignment. We have also sought certain details pertaining to their case (300 kg heroin smuggling case),” an STF officer said.

As per an STF official privy to the investigations, the Gujarat ATS had been on the trail of Simranjit Sindh Sandhu, a resident of Ranjit Avenue in Amritsar and a proclaimed offender. He is believed to the alleged kingpin being the drug racket busted by the STF and was also wanted in the 300-kg heroin smuggling case registered in Gujarat. Sandhu was arrested recently in Italy on the basis of a red corner notice (RCN) issued by the Interpol on request of the Gujarat ATS.

While the Gujarat ATS traced the entry of 300 kg heroin into India via Gujarat coast in August 2018, it could recover only 5 kg of the contraband.

An STF official said that Sandhu was the brains behind getting the contraband to Punjab in trucks after it had landed in Gujarat from Pakistan. After his name came up in the Gujarat case, Sandhu fled to Australia via Nepal before flying Italy where he was arrested by the Interpol earlier, the STD had arrested six people, including an Afghanistan national and a woman, after recovering the heroin from Amritsar House.

The STF has also named Sahil Sharma, the son of a Congress Councillor in Amritsar, in this case, according to police officials. Sharma’s name cropped after investigations revealed that he was allegedly involved in storing contraband at a house on Majitha road for a week before shifting it to the house in Sultanwind village in Amritsar from where the drugs were seized.

Meanwhile, the STF Tuesday seized 3.250 kg heroin from the residence of Ankush Kapoor, one of the accused in the 194-kg drugs seizure case. “We also recovered some other chemicals that was used to dilute the heroin,” an STF official said, adding the recovery was made based on Kapoor’s statement in custody.

STF hasn’t found any involvement of the only woman accused, Tammana Gupta, in the drug racket so far.
“We are still investigating her role. But so far we haven’t find anything against her. She was present in the house probably because she is friends with one of the accused,” the STF officer added.

It has also come to fore that former Subordinate Service Selection board member Anwar Masih was yet to be arrested. Soon after the drug bust, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had claimed that Masih, who has links with the Shiromani Akali Dal, had been arrested. The house from here the drugs were seized belongs to Masih and he had rented it out a month ago.