Heroin worth Rs.260 mn seized, Akali activist nabbed

March 23rd, 2008 - 11:00 pm ICT by admin  


Amritsar, March 23 (IANS) In a major embarrassment to Punjab’s ruling Akali Dal, a leader of the party’s youth wing was Sunday arrested by officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) while he was trying to smuggle 22 kg of heroin to Canada. The drug haul is valued at over Rs.220 million ($5.5million)in international market.

Jalandhar-based businessman and youth Akali Dal general secretary Purshottam Sondhi was arrested on the Rajasansi International Airport road late Saturday night in a trap laid by the DRI officials, DRI joint director Deepak Rastogi said Sunday.

Sondhi’s associate Bittu Atwal, also from Jalandhar, was also arrested.

In another seizure, the Punjab police in the adjoining border district of Tarn Taran caught a man Saturday with 4 kg of heroin valued at Rs.40 million. Three smugglers were arrested with the drug consignment.

The total seizure of 26 kg of heroin worth Rs.260 million is one of the biggest hauls of the illicit drug in recent years.

Sondhi had concealed the drug consignment in 26 carbon packs, which were kept among suits for women.

DRI investigations revealed that the consignment was to be delivered to someone at the airport from where it was to be taken to Canada.

It is not the first time that names of Akali leaders have figured in drugs smuggling. Earlier, Akali leaders from Ferozepore and Dera Baba Nanak area have figured in such rackets.

But Akali leaders in Chandigarh denied that Sondhi was associated with the party.

DRI officials said that the heroin consignments were entering India through Pakistan after originating from Afghanistan.

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