The accused, Babboo Bhanushali, who was a key member of an octroi mafia, had been absconding since March 2010, but came up on the police radar a few weeks back, when cops nabbed him red-handed doling out fake receipts
Officers of the Thane crime branch finally nabbed a notorious gutkha dealer, who had been absconding for the past one-and-a-half years, on Thursday.
Girish Mange, alias Babboo Bhanushali (35), had wriggled through the police net in May last year, after cops seized a consignment of spurious gutkha that belonged to him.
"We have arrested the accused. He will remain in our custody over the next three days. Investigations are still in progress," confirmed Chandrakant Joshi, a senior inspector from the crime branch in Thane.
Cops are now on the hunt for Babboo's cousin Nanda, another accused in the case.
On March 4, 2010, crime branch officials intercepted a Goregaon-bound truck near the Thane Central Jail, and seized a consignment of gutkha, worth Rs 8.77 lakh from it.
They arrested the truck driver Vitthal Mhaske, and sent the shipment for analysis to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The results indicated that the powder had been adulterated with Magnesium Carbonate, a banned substance.
Interrogation led cops on the scent of Farookh Khan, who allegedly managed the racket, and Mange's uncle Paresh Bhanji Nanda, alias Paresh Bhanushali, its alleged kingpin.
While Paresh and Farookh were arrested, Babboo and Nanda managed to slip through their fingers.
Babboo came up on the police radar again a few weeks ago, when Pant Nagar police officers nabbed him on
charges of printing sham octroi receipts.
As soon as officials of the Thane crime branch got wind of his arrest, they arranged for transfer of custody.
Sources revealed that the Bhanushalis had become the most powerful octroi mafia in the city, having managed to create a nexus with cops, BMC officials, and even some ministers. It was allegedly facilitating the passage of 100-125 truckloads of goods every day.