The Mumbai Police have been in communication with Mumbai Customs, sending several letters and reminders, requesting crucial details about a drug trafficking syndicate operating at the Mumbai Airport Courier Terminal. The syndicate is suspected of exporting precursor drugs, such as ketamine, meth, and Viagra, through courier parcels to destinations like the UK, the US, and Australia.
Letters & Reminders Sent by Mumbai Police to Customs for Syndicate
The Anti Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch has written five letters to the Mumbai Airport Customs Commissioner, seeking information about the 73 suspected parcels containing drugs that were exported by arrested drug trafficker Ali Asgar Shirazi and his associate Kailash Rajput this year. However, the Mumbai Airport Customs has allegedly been unresponsive to the police's request for information. The police have specifically asked for CCTV footage from the Airport Courier Terminal to verify Shirazi's presence at the restricted customs clearance center. Senior Airport Customs officials have denied any delay in providing inputs to the Mumbai Police and claimed that the letters only inquired about the general working of the airport cargo terminal and customs handling of export parcels in courier.
Alleged Stonewalling by Mumbai Airport Customs Raises Concerns
The investigation conducted by the AEC team in March 2023 resulted in the seizure of ketamine and Viagra tablets worth Rs 8.5 crore, which were being smuggled through a prominent courier company. This seizure has raised suspicions about the 73 previous consignments that were cleared by the Airport Customs at the Courier Terminal. The police have requested details of the customs officers who handled these suspected drug consignments during cargo clearance.
"Senior crime branch officials told FPJ on Thursday that it is suspected that the same set of officers were clearing the narcotics consignment for exports in courier parcels of arrested drug trafficker Ali Asgar Shirazi," stated a police official.
Ali Asgar Shirazi frequently visited Airport Courier Terminal
According to the police investigation, Ali Asgar operated a couple of courier companies, namely KMB courier and the now-defunct Continental, with the alleged negligence of airport customs officials, in order to traffic party drugs and banned pharmaceuticals to Europe and the US. Shockingly, Ali Asgar Shirazi frequently visited the Airport Courier Terminal, despite having several NDPS cases against him, including a 2012-13 airport customs seizure of ketamine, as well as an Interpol red alert and a "Look Out" notice issued by the Mumbai Police. This has raised concerns about the ease of access given to a narcotics trafficker in a sensitive and highly restricted customs courier center.
NIA Joins Investigation to Unravel Hawala Transactions and Investments
Meanwhile, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has requested the Mumbai Police to uncover the hawala transactions and investments of Ali Asgar Shirazi, who is associated with the Dawood Ibrahim gang. The NIA suspects that money generated from the drug trade has been invested by Dawood in Bollywood and the hospitality business. It is believed that Shirazi's interrogation will unveil numerous benami transactions and hawala transfers to Dubai and Pakistan. Additionally, the police is investigating Shirazi's event management company, which was involved in organizing events featuring international artists.