Kochi: The reports that the accused in the Kakkanad drug seizure case had prior knowledge of the raid have put both the Excise and the Customs Departments, which carried out joint operations, to shame. How the news got leaked to the accused is now baffling both the departments.
It was the Customs Preventive Unit in Kochi that had informed State Excise enforcement wing based in Thiruvananthapuram that there was almost 2 kilograms of MDMA stored in a flat at Kakkanad in Kochi.
It was on August 19 midnight that the Excise and the Customs enforcement wings began preparations for the raid. Around 1.30 a.m, the joint team swooped down on the flat and began raids and arrests. The Excise district unit, which was accused of scuttling the case, did not know about the raid then. So, how the news of the raid got leaked remains a mystery.
Two concealed substance before raid
The CCTV footage had clearly shown that the two persons, a man and a woman, were trying to conceal MDMA weighing 1.115 kg before the joint team arrived for the raid.
Ironically, the same persons were let off by the Excise district unit, saying that there was no evidence to link them up with the case. Almost five officers of the district unit had to face disciplinary action for taking this controversial step.
Probe into leak begins
Both the departments are hopeful that during the questioning of the accused in custody, the details of those who leaked it could be known.
The intelligence agencies of both the departments have been pressed into service to unearth how it got leaked. The upset Customs Department has entrusted the probe with the Customs Vigilance unit. The leaking of the raid news has also put the Excise State enforcement unit on the defensive.
Asst Commissioner to lead seizure case
Assistant Excise Commissioner T M Kasim will be in-charge of the investigation into the drug seizure case.
According to Excise circles, five accused and the two let off persons were together running a vast drug racket in Kochi. A complete picture about their operations will be received once the checking of their entire phone calls is completed.
The accused will be taken for evidence-collection at Wayanad, Chennai and Puducherry. During this trip, the Excise is planning to seize from them more volume of chemical substances like MDMA which are concealed in remote areas.
It is already confirmed that they had vast links with the other drug racketeers operating in the State. The accused arrested by the Excise are Mohammed Fawas, Sreemon, and Shabna, Mohammed Afsal and Mohammed.
The Excise district unit could not justify why the two persons, who were trying to conceal drugs in the flat, were let off. So, the two persons will be questioned further and if needed, will be arrested.
The custody period of the accused will end on August 31 and the Excise Crime Branch will have to produce them again before the court.