Pakistani drugs smuggler nabbed from border fence in Punjab

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New Delhi, Apr 17 (PTI) In a first-of-its-kind operation, anti-narcotics agencies have nabbed a Pakistani national while attempting to smuggle drugs from along the India-Pakistan border fence in Punjab, officials said on Saturday.

Twenty-eight-year-old Amjad Ali alias Majid Jutt, a resident of Kharak village in Lahore, was nabbed by the Border Security Force (BSF) troops in the Khemkaran front area of Ferozepur district on the intervening night of April 6-7 when he and his associates were about to push in over 20 kg of heroin from under the fence to their Indian contacts.

A total of 20.5 kg of heroin, a mobile phone, a power bank and a 13-feet-long PVC pipe (used to push in drug packets from under the border fence) were recovered by the BSF from Ali, they said.

As it was a case 'of utmost importance related to inter-border drug trafficking', the probe was handed over to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), deputy director general (north) of the central agency Gyaneshwar Singh said.

'It is an international drugs syndicate working from across the border. Suppliers are sitting across the fence and pushing in the drugs into India,' he said.

In a video provided by the NCB, the arrested Pakistani national confesses to have been nabbed by BSF troops in the dead of the night on the said day from the 'zero line' of India-Pakistan border.

Seen handcuffed and flanked by NCB officers, he claims in the video that while he and his two associates were about to push in drugs to the Indian side, the BSF fired and the two men with him and those on the Indian side fled as he ducked to save himself.

'The BSF caught me after opening the gates of the border fence,' he is heard saying.

NCB deputy director (operations) K P S Malhotra said this was the 'first operation in which a Pakistani national was arrested alive' from the international front area.

There have been numerous instances of the BSF shooting dead drug smugglers along this border in the past.

Malhotra said a man identified as Jarnail Singh has also been arrested by the NCB from Vadodara in Gujarat on Saturday on leads provided by the Pakistani man.

Jarnail Singh, the receiver of the 20.5 kg heroin being smuggled from across the India-Pakistan border that day, is a resident of Ferozepur and has been absconding since the BSF nabbed the Pakistani man, he said.

'Amjad Ali was put to sustained interrogation, which led to unearthing of the entire drug syndicate, which is being controlled by two Pakistani nationals who are, residents of Lahore and Kasur districts of Pakistan.' 'The Indian side receivers have also been identified. Raids have been conducted at possible hideouts in Punjab and Gujarat,' Malhotra said.

The NCB said it will 'also raise this issue at appropriate international forums and will also seek assistance in arrest of the Pakistani nationals who are involved with Amjad Ali in drug trafficking'.

We are going to take the help of Interpol to nab and nail the international operatives of this syndicate, Gyaneshwar Singh said. PTI NES ZMN