Maharashtra: Aeronautical engineer's bid to start meow-meow factory in Ratnagiri foiled

Maharashtra: Aeronautical engineer's bid to start meow-meow factory in Ratnagiri foiled

The Thane Anti-Narcotics Cell has arrested seven persons, including mastermind Abhishek Shobaran Kuntal alias Sirji, an aeronautical engineer.

Abhitash SinghUpdated: Thursday, March 23, 2023, 08:00 AM IST
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Maharashtra: Aeronautical engineer's bid to start meow-meow factory in Ratnagiri foiled | Prashant Narvekar/ FPJ

The Thane Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) has foiled a plot to set up a factory to manufacture mephedrone (MD) in Lote Industrial Area in Ratnagiri. MD is a psychotropic substance and known by its street name meow-meow.

The agency has arrested seven persons, including mastermind Abhishek Shobaran Kuntal alias Sirji, an aeronautical engineer. Kuntal, 54, is also an accused in a similar case in Haryana, which was unearthed eight months ago by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). He was absconding in that case.

The other arrested accused are Jitendra Chavan, 33, Sachin Chavan, 38, Dinesh Kodamoor, 37, Salahuddin Sheikh, 41, Nafees Pathan, 33, and Mubbshir Matvankar, 38. 

Trap set after receiving information of sale

Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Ashok Morale said they laid a trap after receiving information about sale of MD in Thane and the surrounding areas, and arrested two brothers – Jitendra Chavan and Sachin Chavan alias Gattya Bhai. The police team seized 63gm of MD worth Rs2.5 lakh from them.

During questioning of the duo, it was found that Chavan bought the contraband from Dinesh Kodamur of Digha in Navi Mumbai and sold it further. Kodamur was arrested and 54gm of MD worth Rs2.16 lakh was seized. His questioning led the police to Salahuddin Sheikh alias Mama from whom he had bought 7kg of MD since June last year. Sheikh was found to be working for Kuntal alias Sarji, who was arrested from his native Chamarli village in Raigad. He also has an office in Seawoods, Navi Mumbai.

Factory was already set up

Technical analysis of their mobile numbers revealed that they were in touch with a few people from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Hyderabad.

The probe revealed that Kuntal, along with Santosh Singh alias Raju of Lucknow, Mohammed Azam Hasan of Mumbai and Wafadar Gajanfar Hussain of Navi Mumbai, set up a factory to manufacture ephedrine and mephedrone drugs in June and July last year in Yamunanagar, Haryana. The factory, however, was raided by DRI and 661kg of ephedrine was seized.

Materials needed to set another factory waas not available

Kuntal then tried to start a factory in Lote MIDC, Ratnagiri. The reactor and other materials needed were procured but bromine, the chemical needed to manufacture MD, was not available. So he started a factory in Telangana in December last year. However, DRI took action against this factory, too, but his aide Santosh Singh was arrested, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch, Thane) Shivraj Patil.

Patil said Kuntal intended to scale up MD production in Ratnagiri. “Santosh Singh is currently in the custody of DRI. Kuntal will also be detained by DRI for investigation. This is an interstate racket,” he said.

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