Pune Police Crackdown on International Drug Smuggling Ring Sparks ED Probe

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Pune: The recent bust of an international drug smuggling racket by the Pune police crime branch has sent shockwaves through the city, triggering a cascade of investigations by various law enforcement agencies. Following the arrest of eleven individuals and the seizure of drugs worth crores of rupees in raids spanning from Pune to Delhi, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has now turned its attention to the case, demanding comprehensive details from the Pune Police.

In a formal communication addressed to the Pune Police, the ED has requested a thorough account of the offence, including information on the accused and their assets. Senior officials from the police department confirmed the ongoing collaboration with the ED, underscoring the gravity of the situation.

The ED’s intervention comes in the wake of similar requests from other central investigating agencies, such as the CBI, ATS, and NIA, reflecting the scale and complexity of the drug smuggling operation. The Pune Police have been collecting information about the properties owned by the accused in compliance with the directives from these agencies.

Among the nine individuals arrested by the Pune Police thus far are Vaibhav alias Pintya Mane, Ajay Karosia, Haider Noor Shaikh, Bhimaji Parshuram Sable, Yuvraj Babruwan Bhujbal, Ayub Akbar Shah Makadar, Sandeep Rajpal Kumar, Diwesh Charanjeet Bhutani, and Sandeep Hanuman Singh Yadav. However, the mastermind behind the operation, Sandeep Dhune, along with five others, remain at large.

The crackdown, which unfolded in Somwar Peth on February 18, led to the seizure of a staggering 1760 kg of mephedrone, underscoring the magnitude of the illicit drug trade. The investigation has uncovered extensive networks operating not only within the state but also internationally, raising concerns about money laundering through the Hawala network.

During interrogation, key insights were gleaned from suspects Haider Shaikh, Vaibhav Mane, and Bhimaji Sable. It was revealed that Sable owns a factory and a residence in Pimple Saudagar, while Bhujbal possesses a house in Mumbai.

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