Maha: 2 held by NCB for growing cannabis in flat

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(Eds: Corrects intro, adds without instead of with) Mumbai, Apr 16 (PTI) The Narcotics Control Bureau raided a flat in Dombivali in neighboring Thane district and seized cannabis being cultivated in a flat using a method in which plants are grown without using soil, also called hydroponic farming, an official said on Friday.

The drug was being cultivated a two bedroom-hall-kitchen (BHK) flat owned by one Rehan Khan, who is based in Saudi Arabia and was financing the operation, the official added.

'After the raid on Thursday, we have seized pH regulators, plant nutrients, clay pebbles, water pumps, air circulation systems, carbon dioxide gas cylinders, photosynthesis lighting systems etc from the flat. The hydroponic cultivation of cannabis was being done by two people identified as Javed Jahangir Shaikh and Arshad Khatri. Shaikh is an expert in this kind of farming, while Khatri was looking after the distribution. The information about the flat was given by Ganesh Shere and Siddhant Amin, who were arrested from Parel in Mumbai on Monday,' he said.

'Shaikh and Khatri were procuring cannabis seeds from Amsterdam and other parts of the Netherlands through the dark web and sales as well as purchase transactions were being carried using crypto-currencies like Bitcoins and cash. Social media platforms were being used to push the drug to customers. We are also probing the link of this racket to an international operation run by Sahil Shah, alias Sahil Flacko,' the official added.

In another operation, the Mumbai unit of the NCB caught foreign national Onurah Samuel Mike and seized 30 grams of cocaine from him, an official said.

Mike has told investigators that he had got the consignment from one Celestian, a Nigerian national, who brings cocaine into the country frequently, the official added. PTI DC BNM