‘Lucknow emerging major narcotics hub’

November 25th, 2008 - 4:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Nov 25 (IANS) The interrogation of two Sri Lankans arrested last Friday with 18 kg of refined hashish in Uttar Pradesh has revealed that Lucknow and cities around it are emerging as a hub for international drug smugglers, who pick up cheap smack from here and sell it for more than six times the local price. Bought at a rate of around Rs.16,000 per kg from Lucknow and surrounding districts, the price of hashish touches Rs.100,000 in Mumbai and Chennai and shoots up further as it reaches the international market.

The two Sri Lankans, Matheranga Vijaydeva and Vellaithamma Chanda, were arrested by the state police’s Special Task Force (STF) from a bus stand in Barabanki, 28 km from Lucknow. The hashish was found hidden in the inner lining of their suitcases, the police claimed.

“We have informed the Ministry of External Affairs about the arrest and the information has been forwarded to the Sri Lankan government,” deputy superintendent of police, STF, Arvind Chaturvedi told IANS.

Currently lodged in the Barabanki district jail, the two have revealed crucial information to the investigating agencies.

This is not the first time they picked up drugs from Uttar Pradesh, they have taken huge consignments earlier too.

“Vijaydeva has confessed that he is working for Sri Lanka-based international drug smuggler, Lokka, for the past 15 years,” a member of the interrogating Special Task Force team told IANS, preferring anonymity.

“We have come to know about two persons of Lucknow who, besides supplying drugs to Lokka, are also providing similar facilites to smugglers of other western countries”, the source added.

Meanwhile, it was also revealed during interrogation that Vijaydeva had shifted to Mumbai in 1985-86.

“There he married a widow and started an export business of readymade clothes to Sri Lanka. He also used to send drugs in the same consignments.”

He was caught by the Narcotics Control Bureau in 1998 and after serving three and a half years in jail, went back to Sri Lanka.

“However, he remained active in the drug trade and it was only after the arrest of two Nepal residents, who were supplying drugs to them, that the duo was arrested,” Chaturvedi added.

The Nepali carriers, Chandra Bahadur Thapa and Durga Punj, were arrested a couple of months ago.

While Thapa was arrested from Lucknow, Punj was arrested from Bahraich district bordering Nepal. It was during their interrogation that the names of these Sri Lankans surfaced, Chaturvedi added.

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