NIA arrests key accused in Rs 700 crore narcotics haul case at Punjab's Attari

09 April,2024 08:13 PM IST |  New Delhi  |  PTI

The National Investigation Agency arrested Harwinder Singh alias Soshi Pannu, the key accused in the Rs 700 crore worth narcotics haul case, at Punjab`s Attari in 2022

Representation image

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Harwinder Singh alias Soshi Pannu, the key accused in the Rs 700 crore worth narcotics haul case, at Punjab's Attari in 2022, an official statement issued on Tuesday said.

The accused, a resident of Naushehra Pannuan in Punjab's Tarn Taran, used to distribute drugs, handle cash and launder drug proceeds through banking as well as hawala channels, as per the NIA investigations.

The NIA has made another major breakthrough in the Attari drug seizure case with the arrest of the key accused found to be actively involved in drug dealing and quality testing besides handling the proceeds of narcotics smuggling, the probe agency said in the statement.

With this, the total number of arrests in the case has gone up to six, it added. The case relates to a major conspiracy hatched by the international drug cartel to circulate drugs in India through various distributors and channelise the proceeds to foreign-based masterminds.

The case came to light following two seizures, totalling 102.784 kgs of heroin drug valuing approximately Rs 700 crore, in April 2022 by the Indian customs, the NIA said. The drugs, which had been concealed in a consignment of Licorice roots (Mulethi), had arrived in India from Afghanistan through Integrated Check Post (ICP) Attari, Amritsar, it said.

The NIA, on taking over the investigation, had found that on the directions of Dubai-based absconding accused Shahid Ahmed alias Qazi Abdul Wadood, the heroin consignment was sent into India by Afghanistan-based accused Nazir Ahmed Qani.

It was meant for delivery to accused Razi Haider Zaidi in India for further distribution across the country, the probe agency said. Razi Haider Zaidi and Vipin Mittal were arrested earlier in the case.

The proceeds of narcotics amounting to Rs 1.34 crore were recovered from another co-accused, Amritpal Singh, and frozen under relevant legal provisions.
Amritpal Singh was arrested on December 15, 2023, while attempting to flee the country.

Shahid Ahmed alias Qazi Abdul Wadood and Nazir Ahmed Qani are absconding, the NIA said.

A chargesheet was filed by the NIA earlier on December 16, 2022, against four accused persons, Shahid Ahmed alias Qazi Abdul Wadood, Nazir Ahmed Qani, Razi Haider Zaidi and Vipin Mittal, it added.

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