Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) recently recorded the statement of a close associate of drug kingpin Ali Asghar Shirazi (blue T-shirt), sources said on Wednesday. Vijay Rane, who is lodged in Taloja Jail, ran a courier company that sent drugs to Australia, Britain and the UAE, the sources said.
The Crime Branch’s AntiExtortion Cell (AEC) raided the courier company’s office in Andheri (East) in March and seized 15.74 kilos of ketamine, valued at Rs7.8 crore, and 23,410 strips of a prohibited drug worth Rs58.31 lakh. The ED recorded Rane’s statement between December 21 and 23 with the permission of the special PMLA court.
Kailash Rajput, the main Kingpin
According to the sources, Rane revealed that his role in the syndicate was limited to the courier part of the business. He said Kailash Rajput was the main kingpin, and Shirazi took instructions from him. Shirazi procured the drugs from Gujarat and sent the consignments to Rane.
Rane’s company mis-declared the cargo with the help of airport officials and sent them abroad, the sources said. According to the sources, Rane disclosed the identities of several individuals, including airport-related officials, who played key roles in the syndicate. This information is part of the ongoing investigation and cannot be revealed.
ED's raids at Mumbai locations
Recently, the ED conducted raids at various locations in Mumbai linked to Shirazi, Kailash Rajput (top), and others in connection with a money laundering case. During the search, authorities seized cash amounting to Rs5.5 lakh and gold worth Rs 57.11 lakh.
Additionally, various digital devices, including mobile phones and laptops, as well as incriminating records, were recovered. Based on the investigation, the ED filed an application in the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court seeking permission to interrogate Rane. Kamal Rajput, the brother of Kailash Rajput, has also been arrested by the Mumbai police in connection with this drug haul.
This case is expected to play a key role in the agency’s efforts to extradite Kailash Rajput from the UK. The central agency has initiated the extradition procedure and is in contact with the CBI, which serves as Interpol in the country. During the interrogation, Rane and the other accused, including Shirazi, have said that they had been supplying ketamine to Australia and the UK for a long time, smuggling at least 10 kilos every month. The AEC has arrested three customs agents for allegedly conspiring with the cartel.