NCB arrests ex-DMK functionary in global drugs trafficking case; top party leader may get summons

Sadiq is the "mastermind and kingpin" of a trans-national pseudoephedrine smuggling racket

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  9 March 2024 11:41 AM GMT
NCB arrests ex-DMK functionary in global drugs trafficking case; top party leader may get summons

New Delhi: The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Saturday arrested 36-year-old Jaffer Sadiq, an expelled DMK party functionary in Tamil Nadu, in connection with an international drugs trafficking racket investigation estimated to be worth more than Rs 2,000 crore.

NCB deputy director general (operations) Gyaneshwar Singh told reporters here that Sadiq's linkages with the Tamil and Hindi film industry, some "high-profile" people apart from some instances of "political funding" were under the scanner of the agency.

Sources told PTI that a high-profile DMK leader could soon be summoned by the NCB for questioning with regard to some monetary transactions worth a few lakhs.

Sadiq was arrested in Delhi on the basis of specific intelligence inputs and he is the "mastermind and kingpin" of a trans-national pseudoephedrine smuggling racket spread across Australia, New Zealand and Malayasia from India, Singh said.

"The NCB believes in doing an unbiased and lawful investigation. A criminal has no caste, religion or political party. Whosoever violates the NDPS law is an offender and we will investigate any such entity. "We will intensely investigate the drug money trail in this case," Singh said when asked if any political persons were under the scanner of the agency.

He said Sadiq, whose full name is Jaffar Sadiq Abdul Rehman, went into "hiding" soon after the agency conducted raids in Delhi in this case in February and he travelled from Chennai to Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Jaipur before being taken into custody following his brief questioning by the NCB.

Sadiq, a producer of Tamil films, was recently expelled by the ruling DMK from the party after his name and purported links to the drugs network were mentioned by the agency.

Singh said Sadiq told the NCB that he was the Chennai West deputy organiser of the DMK's NRI wing.

The opposition BJP and AIADMK in the state have been targeting the DMK over the matter.

Last month, the NCB said, it arrested three people, all hailing from Tamil Nadu, and seized 50 kg of narcotics-making chemical pseudoephedrine during a raid at a godown of Sadiq's company named Aventa in Delhi's Basai Darapur area.

The searches by the NCB alongwith the special cell of the Delhi Police came on a tip-off they received towards the end of 2023 from the Australian and New Zealand authorities about "large quantities" of pseudoephedrine concealed in desiccated coconut powder and mix food powder being smuggled into their countries from India.

An additional input from the US DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) indicated that the source of these consignments was in the national capital, the NCB had said in a statement.

Sadiq, according to Singh, pumped and invested his alleged drugs trade earned money into his "front or cover businesses" of movie production, real estate and hospitality among others.

A Tamil film named 'Mangai' was "entirely funded" by the accused from drugs money. He also constructed a hotel in Chennai, the DDG said.

According to NCB officials, Sadiq allegedly used to get Rs 1 lakh per kg "cut" (commission) from the smuggling of the narcotics.

The NCB claimed the three arrested persons and Sadiq informed them that total of 45 pseudoephedrine consignments were sent by them over the last 3 years, containing about 3,500 kgs of pseudoephedrine valued at over Rs 2,000 crore in the international market, as per the NCB.

The NCB since then had been looking for Sadiq to "ascertain the source" of this pseudoephedrine and had also raided his premises in Chennai recently.

Sadiq's name also figured in a 2019 Customs department case linked to smuggling of another drugs Ketamine to some overseas locations and he allegedly got into this illegal activity after initially trying his hands in the trade of pirated CDs, according to agency sources.

Alleging that the state has turned into a den of drugs under the DMK rule, AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami said on Friday that Chief Minister M K Stalin owes an explanation to the people on how Jaffer Sadiq gained access to a senior police officer.

"Jaffer Sadiq became close to the DMK leadership and even obtained a gift from a DGP. This is very unfortunate and anguishing and needs to be condemned," Palaniswami told reporters in Chennai.

Pseudoephedrine is a highly addictive synthetic drug, and even though it has some legal uses, it is classified as a controlled substance in India, bringing strict regulation on its production, possession, trade, export and use.

It is used to prepare a synthetic drug called methamphetamine which, according to NCB sources, sells anywhere between Rs 1-1.5 crore per kg in the international market.

Illegal possession and trade of pseudoephedrine is punishable up to 10 years of imprisonment under the NDPS Act.

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