On Monday evening, the Narcotics Control Bureau announced that following a coordinated raid by officials in Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, a major amphetamine drug-ring was busted. The first raids were conducted on September 30 in Hyderabad, and two men were arrested and remanded to judicial custody by October 2. One of the key members of the drug-ring was Venkat Rama Rao, a research scientist in the chemical industry in Bengaluru.
Top sources in the NCB have now told The News Minute that another alleged member of the ring, an Indian Air Force Wing Commander with the Information Technology Wing in Delhi, Rajasekhar Reddy, has also been arrested and remanded to custody.
Sources say that Rajasekhar was a classmate of Venkat, and they got back in touch with each other when Reddy was posted in Bengaluru for about five years till January 2016. Rajasekhar had then been posted in Delhi, and he would reportedly travel to Hyderabad every weekend to handover drugs to other suppliers.
Rajasekhar is accused of having been an important part of the ringâ€™s distribution chain, but only supplied consignments to other brokers and ground-level distributors. He did not sell drugs directly to customers.
Rajasekhar used to operate clandestinely and is not believed to have used his position at the Air Force for his alleged criminal activities. He was in possession of 7-8 simcards, and was carrying about Rs 8 lakh in cash when he was arrested, which was also confiscated.
TNM had reported on Monday that in the coordinated raid by NCB, about 231kgs of amphetamine were confiscated, and the street value of the drug consignment ran upto Rs 45 crore.
NCB said that the accused Venkat Rama Rao (37) from Bangaluru and M Ravi Shankar Rao (21) from Hyderabad were intercepted while delivering the amphetamine at Miyapur, Hyderabad. Venkat had gone to Hyderabad from Bangalore to collect the drug for further trafficking to other South Indian cities, including Chennai. The house of Venkat at Electronic City in Bangalore was also raided and around Rs 1.25 crore seized, which is believed to be the proceeds of drugs trafficking, an NCB release said.
Sources say that during the raids, Venkat went absconding in his car and was on his way to Goa when his car was intercepted in Nanded and he was arrested with the help of the police.
It is understood that the network was operating out of a leased lab in Hyderabad, and were on the lookout for a permanent lab.
The seized amphetamine is believed to be for trafficking to South East Asian countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia and also to some Western countries.
According to the statement released by Prem Anand Sinha, Zonal Director of the Chennai Zonal Unit of the NCB, these raids were the result of a continuing investigation launched after 5.15kg of methamphetamine were seized at Chennaiâ€™s Koyembedu bus depot and a man named BV Jeevan Kumar was arrested. Jeevan Kumarâ€™s revelations on the drug network led to the busting of the ring, the statement said.