Deccan Chronicle

Hyderabad's drugs racket runs deep, cops have their task cut out

Deccan Chronicle.| Balu Pulipaka

Published on: January 29, 2022 | Updated on: January 30, 2022

One of the 10 absconding men, and considered as a key player in the city's drug scene, had been arrested by the Mumbai police

Hyderabad city police commissioner C.V. Anand. (DC photo)

Hyderabad city police commissioner C.V. Anand. (DC photo)

Hyderabad: The sale of drugs and narcotics in the city is a well-oiled operation that involves some rich businessmen not averse to peddling influence and a couple of food and drink 'joints' where the wheeling and dealing takes place.

The latest case was cracked open on January 20 with the arrest of Nigerian national Chukwu 'Tony' Ogbonna David, with Hyderabad police commissioner C.V. Anand announcing that the cops would stamp out the menace of drugs.

In all, the city police had registered a case against 22 persons of whom 12, including Tony, have been arrested so far.

Ten more, according to police officials probing the case, are still on the run.

However, Deccan Chronicle has learnt, through reliable sources, that one of the 10 absconding men, and considered as a key player in the city’s drug scene, had been arrested by the Mumbai police in a case relating to an economic offence.

This businessman, according to sources, not only deals in drugs but is also very deeply involved in betting on cricket games with sums running into tens of lakhs of rupees for each match, as well as running casino-like operations for his elite customers willing to fork out the money, both here and during specially-organised gambling cruises off the Goa coast.

Most of his operations take place in a coffee shop in Jubilee Hills near the Peddamma temple, the sources said. The coffee bar, is 'owned' by an associate of the alleged kingpin who acts as an official front for the business which, in reality, belongs to the alleged drug racketeering kingpin. This associate is also among the absconders. The city police have confirmed that this person is one of the accused in the current drugs case.

"The real deals happen in an area out of bounds for common customers, and is set aside only for 'approved' customers who play pool, place bets running into lakhs of rupees during cricket matches and use drugs," sources said.

The arrest of the businessman in Mumbai was confirmed only on Friday, a day after the police let off his elder brother who was picked up by the North Zone Task Force unit for questioning, a development that was kept under wraps.

Sources said the arrest episode of this businessman was found to be more a matter of a 'strategic surrender' than that of a genuine arrest, in a case being probed by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police.

Police commissioner Anand told Deccan Chronicle that there was no question of the police going slow, or letting anyone involved in drug running, distribution or sale in the city, go free. "The Chief Minister has given a clear direction that drug menace must be stamped out. And we will strictly follow his instructions. The Chief Minister's vision is clear, to make the state free of drugs and other vices.

And his firm stand on this is an enormous boost for us that gives us additional strength to pursue every drug offender and bring every individual involved in such rackets to book," Anand said.

"Irrespective of who the person is, whether those involved in this case, and in any other drug cases, will be caught, and will face punishment for their crimes. We will catch every individual in the present case no matter who they are," Anand told Deccan Chronicle.

The sources said two food joints, the coffee bar in Jubilee Hills, and another, a restaurant named after a spice on the Minister's Road, are key to the drug deals, as well as oiling out of kinks when anyone involved is caught by the police, whether in cases related to drugs, gambling, or betting.

"The eatery on Minister's Road is where 'petis' — each ‘peti’ refers to Rs 1 lakh — changes hands," sources revealed.

Incidentally, neither establishment has CCTV cameras to keep an eye on the comings and goings, the sources said.

It is also learnt that when the push comes to shove, some of the key accused have received some advice from their 'friends' that they should plead guilty to consumption of drugs, which carries a lighter penalty and punishment than that meted out to those involved in drug running.

Deccan Chronicle has in its possession the names of those who are absconding, as well as the person arrested in Mumbai, as well as that of some others with associations with some of the accused in the case, but is withholding the same from publication pending official confirmation of these details.

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