ATS on hot pursuit of Saji Mohan’s Himachal charas trails

Shimla: Heat of the probe into Shaji Mohan’s heroin haul network is being tracked back into charas country Kullu-Manali where uncovered trails with drug peddlers have raised suspicions of safe passages having been used in the supply chain.

Police sources revealed that the Mumbai Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) has made two trips to Kullu-Manali valley and has even apprehended one Tek Chand, a proclaimed offender of narcotic control bureau, in the Shaji Mohan case. The Himachal police is believed to have assisted in arresting the proclaimed offender for the ATS team.

SR Mardi, IG law and order, however, said, “neither have the narcotic control bureau or the ATS team contacted the state police in the drug trafficking case involving a police official arrested in Mumbai.”

Tek Chand was one of the contraband couriers used by Dharam Dass, a kingpin involved in drug trade, who was arrested with 68 Kgs of charas by the NCB team on 25 July, 2006 along with accomplice Abhishek Kumar. The trio are said to be related and are from the interiors of Mandi district.

The ATS team is suspicious about why NCB during Mohan’s tenure was soft on Tek Chand, who had jumped parole and was declared a proclaimed offender.

With Shaji during interrogation having revealed that Tek Chand of Mandi was one of the suppliers of charas from Manali area, highly placed sources revealed that the ATS team is also looking into the role of the district police, suspecting that Mohan as zonal chief of NCB having used safe passages for transporting the contraband.

Five year data of NDPS crime showed that while 374 cases were registered under the Act in 2008, which was the second highest in the period; seizure of only 217 Kgs of charas was lowest during the period.

Shaji Mohan was zonal director of narcotic control bureau, Chandigarh from 2007 to 2008 when large quantities of heroin were seized that were siphoned off. The 1995 batch IPS officer was nabbed in Mumbai on January 25 attempting to sell 10 Kgs of heroin. Lodged in judicial custody, Mohan’s case is to come up for hearing on 5 March.

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