(Business Standard) — In its biggest catch, the customs department has seized 600 kilogram of psychotropic substance ‘Dry Chat’ smuggled to India from Ethiopia, according to an official statement issued Tuesday.
‘Dry Chat‘ is a banned substance under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985.
The seizure was done at the air cargo (import) terminal of Delhi airport and three persons including two Somali refugees have been arrested in the case, it said.
Acting on inputs, a team of Air Cargo Commissionerate (ACC), Import, seized three consignments of ‘Dry Chat’, which had come from Ethiopia recently, mis-declared as green tea, when they were pending clearance from the customs authorities.
The value of the seized substance in the market is about Rs 12 crore.
It is the biggest seizure of ‘Dry Chat’ in the country, a customs official said.
The test samples, sent to Central Revenue Control Laboratory reported positive for ‘Dry Chat’.
Simultaneously, concerted efforts were made to apprehend the persons involved in the smuggling racket, the statement by the ACC (Import) said.
Following this, one customs freight forwarder who appeared to be the main facilitator of the clearance of the said goods was apprehended.
“However, his questioning further led to the disclosure of the details of two suspected foreign nationals involved in the import of the said goods from Ethiopia,” the statement said.
Thereafter, discreet plans were put in place to apprehend one of them, who was subsequently held from south Delhi in well executed operation by the officers of ACC Import.
On sustained interrogation, he divulged the information about the possible location of his associate.
“Again a discreet surveillance was mounted in the area and the second foreign national was also apprehended from a restaurant in the Hauz Rani area, New Delhi,” it said.
The two foreign nationals were Somalian refugee status holders and they admitted that they were aware that ‘Dry Chat’ was a substance notified under NDPS Act, 1985.
Consequently, the foreign nationals and one customs freight forwarder were arrested.
They were produced before the Metropolitan Magistrate and have been remanded to 14 days of judicial custody.