Three Keralite inter-state drug peddlers held in Bengaluru

Vidush Vijayakumar, A Subramani Nair and Shijin Mathew.

Bengaluru: Three notorious inter-state drug peddlers have been arrested by the Anti-Narcotics Wing of city police and Rs 44 lakh worth hash oil, ganja and other items recovered from them.

A police team, acting on credible information, raided a house on Friday and seized the contraband.

The three - A Subramani Nair (26), Vidush Vijayakumar (31) and Shijin Mathew (21) - were all from Kerala, the police said in a statement.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the trio used to source the drugs from a Visakhapatnam-based peddler and sell them in smaller quantities in Bengaluru.

According to the police, Shijin and Subramani distributed drugs in branded coconut oil bottles among students in the city. Shijin is a student of hotel management course at a college in the city. The drugs were brought to Bengaluru from Visakhapatnam by Vidush. Vidush completed his MSc in Computer Science and Computer Application in England.

Last month, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in Bengaluru had arrested two Keralites and a Kannada TV serial actress in connection with a major drug seizure. They were identified as Mohammed Anoop, R Ravindran and D Anikha.

The NCB had seized ecstasy or MDMA (methylenedioxy- methamphetamine) pills and cash during the raids conducted in various locations in Bengaluru.

Later, it had found that Anoop is a close friend of CPM's Kerala state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan's son Bineesh Kodiyeri and has links to K T Ramees, who was arrested in the sensational Trivandrum airport gold smuggling case.

The police had also found that the trio supplied drugs to many VIPs and film personalities in South India, especially in Kannada film industry.

Following the drug bust, Central Crime Branch (CCB) in Bengaluru has so far booked 13 people, including Kannada film actress Ragini Dwivedi and a Senegalese national, in two separate cases.

The police said that they conducted (Rave) parties at different parts of Bengaluru and obtained drugs from peddlers to supply them to businessmen, celebrities, film actors, disk jockeys, software engineers and others to make money through illegal means.

Karnataka's crackdown on drug menace

As the police continue their crackdown against drug and substance abuse in the state, the Karnataka government has decided to examine an eight-year-old legislative committee report on tackling the menace.

Home Minister Basavarj Bommai has asked a top bureaucrat to examine the report tabled in 2012 by the assembly's petitions committee, headed by the then Deputy Speaker N Yogish Bhat.

"The report that was given by Yogish Bhat, I have asked the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) to examine it thoroughly. The contents of the report, suggestions made in it to control drugs- it will be thoroughly examined and measures that can be implemented from it, will be looked into," Bommai said.

Speaking to reporters, he said efforts were on to control drug menace, including controlling it scientifically, using technology.

"It is not only a menace in Karnataka, but across the country, so all necessary efforts will be made to control it from all angles, and our crackdown on drugs will continue," he added.

The 2012 committee report focused on drug menace in educational institutions and students falling prey to it besides nexus between the drug mafia and prostitution racket.

With the state going to the assembly polls in 2013 and the new government taking over, the report was forgotten.

The minister said from the ongoing operation it was clear that the drugs were coming into Karnataka from other states and countries.

Bommai said he has held a meeting via video conference with SPs of all the districts, especially border ones, regarding the measures being taken and to be taken.

The meeting also discussed about drugs coming from foreign countries and from cities like Mumbai and Delhi though various modes which needed to be controlled and investigated.

"Drug supplies through cargo, courier, post, dark web need to be completely controlled," the minister said.

The recent arrests made by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had unearthed alleged links of drug peddlers with Kannada actors and musicians, which the CCB police are currently investigating, and it has led to more arrests.

Asked about the arrest of Kannada actress Ragini Dwivedi and high-end party planner Viren Khanna, the minister said prima-facie it appeared that Khanna was also a kingpin and detailed investigation was on.

To a question about Tourism Minister CT Ravis statement on pressure being exerted on the police, Bommai said, "What he (Ravi) said is right.. he has said that as influential people are involved naturally there may be such attempts. He has not said about any specific pressure."

The minister said there was no question of bowing down to any pressure and police have been given free hand to take action in accordance with law.

(With inputs from PTI)

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