Mumbai Crime: Informer runs multi-crore drug business under cops' nose
And he was running his mephedrone business right under the noses of cops, having gained their trust with tip-offs
Remember last year's Rs 2,000-crore drug bust in Thane - the largest-ever in India? Turns out, the man who helped cops crack the case was running his own drug racket right under their noses. He made profits in crores and then parked his dirty money in KV construction, a firm based in Navi Mumbai.
The Thane Anti-Narcotic Cell last week arrested their trusted informer, Kumail Merchant, 30. They learnt about his involvement after tracing his investment in KV construction. The police had earlier arrested his accomplice Javed Ansari, 32. It all started in November, when the Cell arrested two of the drug gang's operatives. They seized 75 g mephedrone from them. Investigation led them to arrest another member, and they seized another 60 g from him. "Munshi said he used to get the drugs from Merchant, who got them from Ansari," said an officer.
The police learnt that Merchant and Ansari were unemployed and had been running their mephedrone business for three years. "They made profits in crores and invested in KV Construction. We are checking with the owners and partners in the firm how much the duo invested there," the officer said, adding, "Merchant confirmed that they got the drugs from a person called Amjad, who resides in Kharghar, but they are not ready to reveal his whereabouts to us."
Merchant told the police that after his name came up in the probe, he fled from the city and was on the run for a month, visiting Ajmer, Lucknow, Delhi, Ratlam, Kashimira in Thane, Mumbai, and finally Goa, from where he was arrested on December 16. He said that during this period, he sold gold ornaments to survive. Merchant was produced in court on December 22 and was remanded in police custody till December 26.
"We are trying to get details about his investments and other links of the drug racket," said Sanjay Godse, senior inspector, Anti-Narcotic Cell. Sources said Merchant had a joint account with his wife, where he had deposited huge sums of money over years. "In the past month, he transferred R6 lakh out of the account. We are verifying why the money was transferred and to whom. All the money in his account and his investment in the construction business is from the drug racket. We also have information that he has a flat at a posh society at Ghodbunder Road that is valued at over Rs 1 crore," said an officer.
Trusted informer's fall from grace
Last year, Kumail Merchant helped the Thane police crack a Rs 2,000-crore drug racket with a lead about a Nigerian operative. This helped cops to trace the involvement of former actor Mamta Kulkarni and her boyfriend and international drug baron Vicky Goswami. Merchant was rewarded by Commissioner Parambir Singh, but he began to feed them information about drug peddlers who dared to defy him. "He used to tell the police that he has a construction and scrap business, but he hid his drug business," an officer said.
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