Preliminary probe has confirmed that Chauhan was directly involved in operating drone sorties for picking up heroin and arms from Pakistan (File/Express photo by Sumit Malhotra)
Punjab Police Friday seized two Chinese-made drones and arrested an Army Naik and two others allegedly involved in smuggling weapons and narcotics from across the border, DGP Dinkar Gupta said. “The drones are capable of flying 2-3 km. They were launched from the Indian side to fly into Pakistan to pick up payloads of narcotics. They had apparently conducted four to five sorties,” Gupta told mediapersons.
The seizure, “resulting from targeted and intelligence-led search operations”, also included drone batteries, custom-made drone containers, two walkie-talkie sets, Rs 6.22 lakh in cash, and the magazine of an INSAS Rifle, he added.
Gupta, who was accompanied by ADGP (Internal Security) R N Dhoke, IG (Border Range) SPS Parmar and Tarn Taran SSP Dhruv Dahiya, said this was the “first instance to show drones were being used to smuggle narcotics, even though no drugs had been recovered”.
According to the DGP, the module members had revealed that they were “involved in cross-border smuggling of drugs and weapons over drones over the past few months”. Certain Pakistan-based drug smugglers who were sending narcotics and weapons from across the border have also come to notice, he added.
According to the DGP, the arrested persons have been identified as Dharminder Singh, a resident of Dhanoa Khurd village in Amritsar; Rahul Chauhan, a resident of Ambala Cantontment, and Balkar Singh, a resident of Kalas village in Amritsar Rural police district. “Dharminder was arrested from Hardo Rattan village, about 3 km from Indo-Pak border and Balkar was in Amritsar jail in a NDPS case and was brought on a production warrant. Chauhan, a Naik in the Army, was reportedly involved in procuring and supplying drones and training cross-border smugglers,” said the DGP.
Two members of the narco-terror module were absconding, said the DGP, adding that further probe was underway to ascertain details about the accused’s ties with terrorist outfits and other anti-national elements.
Preliminary probe has confirmed that Chauhan was directly involved in operating drone sorties for picking up heroin and arms from Pakistan, said the DGP. “He and his aides were in direct contact with Pakistani smugglers on encrypted OTT platforms.”