Mumbai: Ramkumar Tiwari, owner of the famous Muchhad Paanwala, arrested by NCB

The owner of the famous Muchhad Paanwala shop at Kemps Corner, Ramkumar Tiwari, has been arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) which found “banned substances” from his godown on Sunday.

The arrests come after a long questioning since Monday afternoon. “We conducted searches at his warehouse in Kemps Corner, where we recovered certain substances banned under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act,” confirmed a high-ranking NCB officer on Monday night. The paan seller's name cropped up in connection with the drug-related investigation of a businessman, Karan Sajnani, who has been living in the country for the past 15 months. He was arrested on Saturday along with Rahila Furniturewala, a former celebrity manager, and her sister Shaista Furniturewala.

The agency, led by Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede, has recovered imported strains of marijuana from Sajnani. Strains like 'OG Kush' are a super-potent variety of marijuana, the NCB stated, adding that they had also recovered buds or curated marijuana from Sajnani. Based on information obtained from Sajnani during his questioning, the agency searched the premises of Tiwari, who was summoned for investigation. The agency has not disclosed the exact nature of the substances recovered from the premises of Tiwari.

Tiwari is from Hadia district, Prayagraj. He came to Mumbai in the 70s to join his father Panditshree Shyamacharan Tiwari's business. The latter founded the shop located at the upscale Kemps Corner. His clientele includes Bollywood celebrities, politicians and businessmen, who stop by his roadside shop for their favourite post-meal refreshers.

Ramkumar is one of the four brothers who run the popular shop. It was their father who sported a twirled, handlebar moustache, which led to people calling him 'Mucchad Paanwala', which became the name of the shop. His sons too began sporting big moustaches, which soon became the identity of the males in the family. The shop is a landmark and the business has grown so much that there are a few men deployed just to roll the paan. Then, when they launched their own website and began taking orders on email, their business boomed further, this being the first such initiative by paan seller. The Tiwaris now have several outlets in the city.

Ramkumar is being probed for possession of banned substances and their source in detail by the anti-narcotics agency. During the searches of Sajnani’s residence in Khar, the agency had seized 200 kilograms of contraband, one of the biggest such seizures in recent times.

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