//UP drug mafia set to face heat

UP drug mafia set to face heat

TAINTED MONEY: STF of UP Police has been asked to crack down on drug mafia

Barabanki: Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh is the breeding ground of the drug mafia and they thrive under the shadow of politicians.

Criminal politicians and political parties that harbour them feed into each other. In UP many criminal politicians generate funds through drug trafficking…and political parties in turn tap this neta-drug mafia nexus for funds.In return political parties provide drug traffickers political patronage and protection and it’s not as if this information is unknown to central agencies.

The Central Bureau of Narcotics or CBN, which supervises and monitors licit cultivation of Opium in India has a database of drug traffickers some of whom are politically well connected. "We have arrested around 120 people out of which 60 were directly involved in this trade and it is difficult to name them. But some big fishes were caught and everyone knows about them," Deputy Director of CBN, Lucknow Vijay Kumar says.

Sangram Singh Verma, a senior BSP leader, has a 20 year record as a drug trafficker and a lot of evidence is contained in the history sheets of the Satrikh police station. Even today Verma unabashedly offers political protection to other drug traffickers one of whom, Mohammad Matloob, is also mentioned in the history sheets.

Matloob is a prominent drug trafficker and now lives in a palatial bungalow in Lucknow. He was arrested with 2 kgs of heroin in 1997. Sangram Singh Verma recommended the withdrawal of his case-criminal trial number 70/97 during his tenure as agriculture minister of UP from 1998 to 2001.

The case was withdrawn on December 22, 1999. And intelligence about drug traffickers getting increasing political support has been accumulating at the Uttar Pradesh police headquarters. Now the Director General of Police Uttar Pradesh has asked state’s Special Task Force to crack down on members of the drug mafia.

"Even if they have the political backing we don’t mind taking action. We are not bothered about their political backing. Actually the problem with us is that our priorities are different," DGP of UP Dr Yashpal Singh says. "But for you I can share this that I had instructed STF about two months back to work on this also and they are really doing a good job. We do expect to get some good catch," Singh adds.

After the CNN IBN’s expose on politician-drug mafia links the crackdown on UP’s drug traffickers, as promised by the state’s police chief, has become all the more urgent.