The investigation into the seizure of heroin worth Rs 362.59 crore, which was seized from Navi Mumbai last month, has been transferred to the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad. The decision was taken after links to at least two foreign countries were discovered in the preliminary probe, a source said.
The seizure was made by the Navi Mumbai Crime Branch on July 14 based on input received from the Punjab police. Based on the information received, the Navi Mumbai police had examined an unclaimed container at the premises of a logistics company in the Ajivali village in Panvel. An exhaustive search of the container had revealed 168 packets of heroin hidden inside the door frame, which weighed 72.518 kilograms.
An officer who is part of the investigation said that the decision was taken earlier this week to hand over the case to the ATS after it was found that the container may have originated from Afghanistan.
"We also have reason to believe that certain individuals based in Pakistan were involved," the officer said.
Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Bipin Kumar Singh confirmed that the case had been handed over to the ATS but declined to comment on the finer details of the matter.
"I can only confirm that we have handed over the case," Singh said.
An ATS officer said that the links to the two countries would now be examined on a priority basis and further action would be taken accordingly.
The ATS is in touch with central intelligence agencies to find out if any drug-related movement connected to Pakistan and Afghanistan had been observed recently.
Known to be the hub of opium production, Afghanistan has countless drug operations where opium is processed into heroin and trafficked all around the world. The same heroin is also supplied to terrorist outfits, including the Taliban, which further uses the drug to pay for illegal arms and ammunition. This very phenomenon forms the basis and genesis of the term 'narco-terrorism'.