The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) seized nearly 234 kilograms of opium from Rajasthan's Chittorgarh on Saturday, making it the largest opium seizure of opium in India this year, the agency said on Friday.
According to KPS Malhotra, Deputy Director of Operations of the NCB in Chittorgarh, the contraband was being sourced from Chittorgarh and was on its way to Jodhpur.
"On Sunday, the Jodhpur Zonal Unit of the NCB raided the residence of R. Lal in the Shadi Village in Begun. A total of 233.976 kilograms of opium was seized. The intelligence we received pointed us to the fact that the consignment belonged to Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan based drug traffickers," he said.
"Two persons have been arrested - R. Lal and M. K. Dhakad, resident of Bhilwara. One car has also been seized in connection with the cases. Preliminary investigation revealed that the opium was sourced from an illicit cultivation area of Chittorgarh and was destined to Jodhpur," he added.
Malhotra also said that further investigation of the case is underway with a specific focus on the Drug Trafficking Network involved and the linkages they have in the licit opium production areas.
Cultivation of Opium is carried out in India in selected tracts notified by the Central Government in the States of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Licenses are issued by the Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) under the Ministry of Finance to eligible cultivators in the above three States as per the General Conditions relating to Grant of License framed by the Central Government.
According to Malhotra, during seizure and further investigation, it was been learnt that some of the legal cultivators, especially those in the districts of Mandsaur, Neemuch and Ratlam of Madhya Pradesh and Chittorgarh and Jhalawar of Rajasthan, divert it to the illegal channel and sell it to intermediaries for profit.
"These intermediaries traffic this opium to other parts of the country for consumption and conversion to Heroin. The seized Opium, in this case, was also sourced from licit cultivation in Chittorgarh district of Rajasthan," Malhotra said.
( With inputs from ANI )