Bhubaneswar: The Special Task Force (STF) of Odisha Crime Branch have arrested an inter-state drug peddler from Bhubaneswar, an official said.
The accused identified as Sarat Kumar Dey is a native of Parahati located in east Bardhawan district of West Bengal.
“The accused Sarat, a habitual drug peddler, is involved in several previous cases under the NDPS Act. He has been trafficking ganja in Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar,” an STF official added.
The drug peddler has been apprehended in connection with the case registered by the STF after it took over the investigation into it previously registered at the Mohana police station of Gajapati district in August.
Sources claimed that the case was taken over by STF due to the seizure of huge quantities of ganja weighing more than 43 quintal, the highest seizure in a single case ever, and the involvement of inter-state drug traffickers in the case.
Accused Sarat is the mastermind and the main accused in the said case.
The police found Rs 1,25,000 and other incriminating materials from the possession of the accused.
He was produced on Thursday in a local court at Paralakhemundi in Gajapati district.
“On August 20, 2023, Sarat and his associate Promad Kumar Tandi were transporting huge quantities of ganja in a truck from Gajapati district. The accused had fixed a fake Odisha registration number plate instead of the original one carrying West Bengal vehicle registration number. When the patrolling team of the local police station tried to intercept the ganja-laden vehicle, Sarat and Tandi escaped the spot leaving the vehicle. During search, contraband ganja weighing 4,335 kg worth more than Rs 4.33 crore was recovered from the vehicle,” told the STF official.
The accused Sarat was earlier also involved in a number of cases registered under various sections of IPC related to narcotics, robbery, rioting etc.
Sarat had also once escaped from the custody of police.
Ekadashi Dey, the father of the accused, has been lodged in a jail at Puri. Earlier, a court had sentenced him to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment after finding him guilty of transporting the contraband ganja.