Akali Dal leader arrested in last month's drug haul
Tightening the noose around the big names involved in the drug trade, the Punjab Police's Special Task Force (STF) on Wednesday arrested former Subordinate Services Board (SSB) member and Akali leader, Anwar Masih, in connection with the massive drug haul from his house in village Sultanwind last month.
Masih had been under investigation since the January 31 seizure of 197 kgs of heroin, along with other intoxicant drugs and chemicals, from his house.
Booked under the NDPS Act's Section 25 (liability of owner of the place where drug trade is being carried out), he was produced in court, which sent him to two days police custody, said STF chief Harpreet Singh Sidhu.
Masih was appointed as a SSB member by the previous Akali-BJP regime. He had also been an active member of the Akali Dal and is said to be close to several party bigwigs.
The house in Akash Vihar, Sultanwind, near Amritsar, where the illegal drug factory and the contraband were seized, was registered in the name of Masih.
Though Masih had claimed that he had rented out the house to the six accused, who were arrested from there, he had failed to produce any written rent agreement and the people of the area were also unaware of any tenants living there.
Investigations by the police had also revealed that Masih's house was used by the accused for refining and manufacturing drugs for over a month before the racket was busted.
Despite being given time to prove the tenancy of his property, Masih could not come up with any documents to show that he had rented out the premises after due diligence, as claimed by him.
On Wednesday, when he again failed to show any tenancy papers during questioning, the STF Amritsar arrested him.
Sidhu said Masih had also not got the tenant verification done, as per law, and this was a factor in assessing his intentions.
Meanwhile, though the ATS Gujarat has already initiated proceedings for extradition of Simranjit Singh Sandhu, one of the biggest drug mafiosi of the country, from Italy, the STF Punjab is also preparing to move his extradition.-IANS