Ludhiana opioids racket: 13 more arrests; tablets, capsules, injections worth crores recovered from Meerut godown

FOLLOWING THE arrests of two persons on March 2 for allegedly smuggling and supplying pharmaceutical opioids, Ludhiana police Friday busted an inter-state pharma opioid supplying racket and apprehended 13 more people, recovering nearly 67 lakh tablets, capsules, injections and syrups from a godown in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. They also recovered Rs 5.44 lakh in cash from them.

Of 13 accused, four are from UP. On March 2, two persons — Hemant from UP and Anoop Kumar from Ludhiana — were arrested following a raid by police. They were allegedly operating a drug racket from a rented premises in Chhawni Mohalla, which was owned by local BJP leader Satish Naggar and his wife Anuradha Naggar, both former councillors on BJP ticket. Police had also named Satish Naggar in the FIR, but he was not arrested and his role is still being probed. Later, another FIR was registered against Anuradha Naggar for allegedly renting out their properties in the area without verifying credentials of tenants.

Ludhiana Police Commissioner Rakesh Agrawal, while addressing a press conference Friday, said that the racket was unearthed on the basis of information provided by Hemant and Anoop Kumar.

With the 13 arrests, the total number of people arrested in connection with the drugs case is now 15.
CP Agrawal said that in the 18 days’ operation, police teams led by Joint Commissioner of Police (City) Deepak Pareek conducted raids to bust the racket.

After the arrest of Anoop, five more persons were arrested from Ludhiana. Police also arrested money transfer agents and courier agents who allegedly helped in drug supply.

“After the interrogation of Anoop Kumar, the supply chain was traced to Meerut and the other accused were arrested from UP,” said CP, adding that the recovered drugs cost Rs 54 crore in the illegal drug market.

“Acting on disclosures made by the persons arrested from UP, an illegal godown of psychotropic drugs was raided in Partapur area of Meerut in the presence of drug control officials. Huge seizure of as many as 66,99,719 intoxicant tablets, capsules, injections, syrups worth Rs 18 crore (MRP) has been made, which were sold at almost 3 times of the price (Rs 54 crore) in the illegal drug market,” said CP.

He further said that the gang used to push pharmaceutical opioid drugs into the market by way of diversion from manufacturers, wholesalers and retail chemists and used a pre-identified network of couriers, transport, goods carriers, operating from major cities to deliver consignments to various locations using local transporters. Payment and transfer of money was done via multiple online transactions into bank accounts especially created for this purpose.

The CP said that pharmaceutical opioids cannot be sold without a valid prescription from a registered medical practitioner. He had also recommended the DGP commendation disc for the police personnel who carried out the operation.
Apart from the first FIR registered in the case under the NDPS Act at division number 4 police station on March 1, five more FIRs have been registered under the NDPS Act at division number 1, 2 and 3 police sta

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