The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), on Tuesday morning, arrested Ramkumar Tiwari, co-owner of Mumbai’s famous Muchhad Paanwala, who was found possessing 500 grams of suspected cannabinoids.
Tiwari’s name had cropped during investigation of British national Karan Sajnani, who was arrested on Saturday in a case involving importing highly potent marijuana from abroad. “Sajnani imported the marijuana from Seattle, United States. Our investigations revealed that he mis-declared the product while couriering it to the country,” said a senior NCB officer privy to the investigation.
Two sisters –Rahila and Shaista Furniturewala– were also arrested in the case. NCB has alleged that Rahila, who is a former manager of a celebrity, was “providing financial aid”. Shaista has been charged for consumption. “Rahila took payments for the illegal sale and used her bank account for the same,” the officer alleged. The agency had recovered imported strains of marijuana, like OG Kush, which is a super potent variety of marijuana and bud or curated marijuana from Sajnani.
NCB sources stated that around 500 grams of contraband was given to Tiwari, which was seized from his warehouse at Kemps Corner. NCB is investigating if customers procured the banned substances from Tiwari. “The shop is run by two Tiwari brothers, each dividing the operations amongst them for six months. We also recovered many empty joints from the warehouse,” said a senior NCB officer privy to the investigation. “The packets found during the search had ‘CBD’ clearly mentioned on them. CBD is smoked through joints and, hence, we are investigating if he has been giving it to specific customers,” he added.
Tiwari was produced before a court on Tuesday, where he was sent for judicial custody. Subsequently, Tiwari applied for bail, which is likely to be heard on Wednesday. NCB did not seek his custodial interrogation given the small quantity seized from his possession.
Under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, small and commercial quantities for each drug have been notified. “In respect of marijuana, the commercial quantity specified under NDPS is more than 20 kgs and, hence, we did not seek his custodial interrogation,” said the officer.
Explaining the modus of Sajnani, NCB stated that the contraband was packed in the form of pre-rolled marijuana joints by him and was marketed to high class clients in Mumbai and various other states. On Saturday, an NCB team detected a suspicious parcel from a courier in Bandra (West) that contained marijuana. In the follow-up operation, a huge stash of imported strains of marijuana was recovered from Sajnani, a resident of Jaswant Heights in Khar (West). He has previously lived in Hong Kong as well.