Millennium Post

Cities on high

When Rajat Kapoor, a college student, consumed Nitrazepam (N-10), he never thought that his lust for mere fun would leave him mired in the dark alleys of addiction. Currently recovering at the National Drug Dependence Treatment Center, Rajat has faced desertion from his family and developed suicidal tendencies.
Many rich and famous people from the city have undergone serious personal crisis that stem from the murky world of drugs. These individuals often organise private parties on the outskirts of the city where cocaine, brown sugar and hashish are served with aplomb.
In cities and tourist destinations like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Goa, Bengaluru, Manali and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, such rave parties are common and they have become a concern for security and civic agencies across the country. The series of arrests, made by agencies across the country in the last couple of years, has brought to light some startling revelations on how international drug lords are active in metropolitan cities, with aid from a section of wealthy businessmen and high-flying models. Over the years, Kolkata has also been gripped by the drug menace perpetrated by various criminal entities. Kolkata’s drug connection first became famous when fashion guru Prasad Bidapa was arrested in 2005 by the Dubai police for carrying marijuana. Bidapa had claimed that the pouch of marijuana belonged to an invitee at a party held in Kolkata and that it was ‘inadvertently packed into his bag’ without his knowledge. He was arrested on 11 July 2005 in Dubai for carrying 1.5 grams of marijuana. Top police officials in the narcotic cell have claimed that Nepal and Bangladesh are major hubs for the drug mafia, who smuggle in the ‘consignment’ from Pakistan and in Afghanistan.
Along the Nepal-West Bengal border, these banned items are smuggled in through a well organised racket. Speaking to the Millennium Post over telephone, joint commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), Monirul Islam, claimed that most drugs were smuggled into Dhaka through border areas in Cox’s Bazar, Satkhira, Jessore, Rajshahi, etc, from Pakistan. ‘It is a matter of concern for us that many college students are falling prey to this menace,’ he said. A senior officer of the Delhi police Special Cell claimed that the recent rise in drug cases is mainly because of Nigerian nationals and other foreign tourists, who arrive in India on tourist visas. These individuals are found to be involved in the supply of high quality cocaine and other banned drugs to a set list of clients across the nation.
S Subedi, a senior Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) officer in Nepal admitted that the problem of narcotics trade in Nepal is growing and sedative drugs like Mandrax from China has infested the city night life. These drugs have become very popular among the youth. Mandrax is mainly sold in the form of tablets. ‘The growing trend of drug smuggling in Nepal is having an impact on India. We have found that these drug dealers are sending cannabis and hashish to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, via road, from Nepal. From these states, such consignments are sent to other parts of the country. It was learnt that there are many sub agents who work in India on behalf of drug lords,’ he said.
Apart from cocaine and hashish, there is a great demand for synthetic drugs like LSD and Ecstasy. These drugs have become popular among rich young men and women.  Narcotics Control Bureau officials claimed that Kolkata has now become a hot bed for drug lords and this became evident with the arrest of Ang Tsering Ubathein (35) in June 2012. He used to supply cocaine to the rich and famous across metropolitan cities.  Ang’s story is an interesting one. Prior to becoming a drug dealer, he was a guitarist in a rock band. It was poverty that drove him into the game. He claimed that Kolkata became the most popular joint for drugs as compared to other cities. With his arrest, Kolkata police, in close coordination with Mumbai, Delhi, Pune counterparts, carried out a massive crackdown against the entire drug racket and busted many such rave parties, along with their organisers.
Kolkata’s prominence as a major corridor for drugs was made firmer with the arrest of two prominent businessmen Rajiv Mohta (53) and 34-year-old exporter Pratyush Chowdhury from Kolkata in 2012. They revealed before interrogators that the drug ring has links with Latin American cartels and they regularly organised drug-fuelled sex orgies in posh areas across India.
Mohta, a general insurance dealer and business consultant, was nabbed from his Lord Sinha Road residence in Kolkata where police seized various kinds of equipment used for the consumption cocaine and other narcotics. ‘Their interrogation led to the arrest of Nigerian national, Charles Ozimba and Mumbai-based Anglo Indian, Donald Maitland. Ozimba, a resident of Edo city in Nigeria, used to live in Hyderabad, while Maitland was part of a drug cartel in Dubai where he had spent 10 years in jail,’ Ramesh Reddy, a senior official of the counter intelligence team in Hyderabad told Millennium Post. During interrogation Ozimba revealed that there was an organised African gang behind the drug racket in India. Two of their associates, Andrew Douglas, alias Ginger, and Melvin Smith, who allegedly smuggled cocaine and charas from Goa and Mumbai, were later arrested and the sleuths are now looking for more arrests in this connection. City-based agencies, probing drug cartels, have claimed that many school students are being drawn into this menace. A disturbing aspect of this story is that many young school girls are being drawn into the trade. They are forced into prostitution, under the garb of supplying drugs. These girls have become popular faces at rave parties and they entertain rich and mighty clients. ‘We have some names and talks are on with their parents to bring these youths back into the mainstream through rehabilitation centers,’ a Delhi Special Cell official said.
‘Clients and drug peddlers used contact each other through some of popular social networking sites. They used this as a platform to place or sell orders using code words about the location and date of rave parties, or to fix up drug deliveries’, he added.
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