Arif Bhujwala who was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) after the agency busted his alleged drug lab in South Mumbai last week is likely to face more trouble as the agency is now probing his assets. The agency believes the properties to be sale proceeds from illegal drug trafficking.
A clandestine drug laboratory operated by Bhujwala in Noor Manzil Building was busted in which the agency seized huge amounts of cash and drugs. “We have now begun another investigation in the properties belonging to Bhujwala. The preliminary investigations have revealed properties linked to him at places such as Dongri, Mira Road and Agripada,” said a senior NCB officer privy to the investigation adding that they expect the worth of properties and assets to run into several crores. The agency will probe into Bhujwala’s immovable and movable properties.
Bhujwala’s name had cropped up after the arrest of Parvez Khan alias Chinku Pathan, relative of mafia don Karim Lala in a drug case. Sameer Wankhede, zonal director, NCB who led the operation has launched a hunt to trace more suspects. To recall, a team conducted raids at his associate Bhujwala's residence at Noor Manzil Building, Jail Road South, Dongri in Mumbai on Wednesday evening which continued till the early morning of Thursday. It led to recovery of one automatic blank revolver, huge unaccounted cash amounting to Rs 2,18,25,600. NCB sources stated that the properties can be forfeited under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act (SAFEMA) if he fails to prove that they were obtained legitimately. The SAFEMA Act provides for the forfeiture of ‘illegally acquired properties’ of smugglers and foreign exchange manipulators and their relatives.
Sources stated that the agency is also scanning calls made to foreign countries in the case. Bhujwala was in touch with Kailash Rajput, a drug dealer who has been running his activities from abroad. The agency suspects that Bhujwala was working at the behest of Rajput who has emerged as one of the top drug dealers.During the operation against Bhujwala and other accused, NCB seized 5.69 Kg of Mephedrone/MD (Commercial Quantity), 1 Kg Methamphetamine (Commercial Quantity) and 6.126 Kg of Ephedrine and a huge stash of packing materials, various utensils, weighing machines and other apparatus used to manufacture illegal drugs.