NIA files sixth supplementary chargesheet against four in 500 kg heroin seizure case


The National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed its sixth supplementary chargesheet against four persons in connection with the seizure of 500 kilograms of heroin, smuggled from Pakistan, at the Salaya Port in Gujarat. According to the latest chargesheet, the NIA has has linked the four accused to three notorious drug smugglers based abroad.

The four accused have been identified as Harminder Singh, alias Romi Randhawa, Manjit Singh, Kuldeep Singh and Malkit Singh, an NIA spokesperson said. “So far, a total of 24 persons have been arrested in this case and a hunt is on for the remaining nine accused, who are currently absconding,” the spokesperson added. Among the nine absconders are Simranjeet Singh Sandhu, one of India’s most-wanted drug smugglers, as well as Pakistan-based smuggler Hajisaab, alias Bhaijaan, Nabi Baksh and Australia-based Tanvir Singh Bedi

The NIA has managed to establish the linkages of the arrested accused with Sandhu, Hajisaab and Bedi. “NIA investigations have revealed that the four charge-sheeted accused had played a pivotal role in transporting, purifying and distributing the drug in various places across Punjab, and used the drug proceeds to raise and use funds for carrying out activities relating to terror and crime. They had acted on the directions of the wanted accused,” the spokesperson said.

Currently, the NIA is trying for kingpin Sandhu’s extradition from Italy. “The case had exposed a huge criminal conspiracy to smuggle illicit drugs into India from Pakistan via the sea route. The consignment was being further smuggled to Punjab through Delhi, where it was brought from Gujarat after landing at the Port there. The accused were involved in smuggling, transportation, storage, purification and distribution of illicit drugs,” the spokesperson said.

The latest chargesheet also laid down the standard operating procedure (SOP) of the accused. “As per NIA investigations, Harminder Singh had taken warehouses/residential houses on rent in Ludhiana for storage of the smuggled drugs/heroin at the behest of Bedi. Kuldeep Singh, along with accused Malkit Singh, had aided another accused, Sukhbir Singh alias Happy, in piloting/escorting heroin/drug purification chemical laden vehicles multiple times from Delhi, Karnal, Kurukshetra to Ludhiana and Amritsar to avoid raising suspicion and police checks. The Bolero vehicle in which Kuldeep was employed as a driver by the Gurudwara was registered on the name of a Gurudwara in Fatehgarh Sahib district (Punjab),” the spokesperson alleged.

The case was initially registered by ATS Gujarat on August 12, 2018, following the seizure of heroin from one of the accused, Aziz Abdul Bhagad, who had pilfered five kg of the heroin from a 100 kg heroin consignment smuggled into India from Pakistan. He had concealed this five kg heroin in a pit near his village in Gujarat, leading to his eventual arrest. Considering the national security ramifications of international linkages, the Ministry of Home Affairs, had transferred the case to NIA on June 29, 2020.


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