Pune Police’s International Pursuit: Hunt Across Seven Countries After 1800 kg MD Drug Seizure

Pune Police Commissioner Amitesh Kumar provided crucial updates on the ongoing investigation into a major Mephedrone (MD) drug racket, revealing a swift and coordinated effort involving teams deployed across seven countries. The police’s international pursuit aims to apprehend the mastermind, Sandeep Dhunia, and dismantle the illicit drug network that spans Sangli, Delhi, and Pune.

Global Collaboration in Action

Commissioner Kumar disclosed that Sandeep Dhunia, identified as the mastermind, is currently in Kuwait. The police, collaborating closely with central agencies, have recommended issuing an ‘Interpol Red Corner’ notice with the assistance of the CBI. The investigation has uncovered international links, revealing a connection between the seized MD drugs and shipments to London, disguised within ready-to-eat food parcels.

Gravity of the Seizure

The seizure of approximately 1800 kg of MD, valued at around Rs 3700 crores in the international market, underscores the gravity of the situation. The seized consignments in other cities and some arrested accused are being brought to Pune for further investigation.

Dhunia’s Background and Connections

Dhunia, an individual of Indian origin holding a British passport, has been previously involved in a case where the DRI seized 150 kg of MD from him in 2016. The investigation at that time led to the arrest of Vipin Kumar, who is currently lodged in Yerawada Jail. Dhunia, now out on bail, assigned the task of manufacturing MD drugs to Yuvraj Bhujbal at Earthchem Laboratories in Pune.

Ongoing Operation and Future Focus

While efforts to expedite the case are intensifying, the focus is shifting towards dismantling the retail chain, targeting wholesale dealers, and monitoring chemical companies associated with the illicit trade. Commissioner Kumar emphasized the collective effort, stating that all agencies are working in close coordination.

Praise and Recognition

Deputy Chief Ministers Ajit Pawar and Devendra Fadnavis praised Pune Police for their proactive actions against the MD drug racket. The city police chief reiterated the collaborative approach and highlighted that there is no one-upmanship among the agencies involved.

Arrested Accused and Future Checks

Several individuals have been arrested in connection with the case, and the operation is expanding to check chemical/pharma factories in collaboration with state government departments. Rigorous checks on companies involved in the illicit trade will be conducted, with the involvement of government departments like MPCB, FDA, Industrial Safety and Health, among others.

The alleged mastermind, Sandeep Dhunia, remains at large as the investigation continues.

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