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NCB nabs on-the-run drug cartel kingpin; lens on political, film links

Sadiq, who was the NRI wing Deputy secretary in the DMK, was expelled from the party after his name surfaced in the NCB case.

NCB nabs on-the-run drug cartel kingpin; lens on political, film links

Jaffer Sadiq

CHENNAI: A Tamil Film Producer and dismissed DMK functionary, A R Jaffer Sadiq (36), said to be the kingpin of an international cartel that supplied pseudoephedrine worth several hundred crores to Australia and New Zealand was arrested by NCB officials early Saturday morning after three weeks of search.

NCB deputy director general (operations) Gyaneshwar Singh told the media that Sadiq's links with personalities in the Tamil film Industry and "political funding" are under the scanner of the agency.

Jaffer Sadiq, who was already under the radar of Mumbai Customs and DRI (Directorate of Revenue Intelligence) for allegedly smuggling Ketamine to Malaysia, was nailed by the NCB after a joint operation with Delhi police on February 15, in which three of his accomplices were arrested after a raid at a firm purportedly owned by Sadiq, Aventa, in Delhi's Basai Darapur area. About 50 kg of Pseudoephedrine was seized from the godown in Delhi.

NCB investigations had revealed that the gang smuggled about 3500 kg of pseudoephedrine in 45 consignments in the last three years, hiding them in Coconut powder and food products.

According to NCB officials, Sadiq allegedly used to get Rs 1 lakh per kg "cut" (commission) from the smuggling of the narcotics and NCB is looking to ascertain the source of pseudoephedrine.

"Pseudoephedrine is a precursor chemical that is used in the manufacture of Methamphetamine, a dangerous and highly addictive synthetic drug. Even though it has some legal uses, it is classified as a controlled substance in India, bringing strict regulations on its production, possession, trade, export, and use. Illegal possession and trade are punishable up to 10 years of imprisonment under the NDPS Act, 1985," an official release stated.

"Sadiq had invested the Drug money in avenues such as Film production, Construction, Real estate, hospitality and other businesses. The Drug money's trail will be unearthed. Our investigations have revealed that Sadiq is the operation's mastermind," Gyaneshwar Singh said.

Singh Further explained that Sadiq went into hiding after the February 15 bust and he travelled to Trivandrum, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Jaipur. NCB said that he was arrested in Delhi.

"Big money was invested in Film production. A Tamil film Mangai was made entirely on drug money, " Gyaneshwar Singh said.

NCB officials said that preliminary investigations have revealed that there are some big names in Tamil Film Industry who have partaken drug money. "The drug money trail is a matter of investigation. I am confident that my team will trace the linkages. We will seek police custody. As per plan, we will investigate each and everybody who is connected with drugs or drug trade, " Gyaneshwar Singh said, adding, "Anybody in contravention of the NDPS act will be treated as accused."

Sadiq, who was the NRI wing Deputy secretary in the DMK, was expelled from the party after his name surfaced in the NCB case.

However, Sadiq already had a tryst with law enforcement in Chennai and was first arrested in 2013 for the possession of pseudoephedrine.

DT Next had reported how he managed to wriggle out of the case, thanks to the Chennai police's inefficient handling of the case at court. From a four-month delay in submitting the seized drug to forensic science laboratory for chemical analysis to discrepancies in the seized drug submitted for analysis, the prosecution's case was weakened by the undoings of the Chennai police than anything. Sadiq and four others were acquitted by a city court in 2017.

Sadiq's arrest has triggered a war of words with the opposition party leaders in Tamil Nadu condemning the DMK for harbouring a drug offender.

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