The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) conducted follow-up search operations at 13 locations in Mumbai, Lucknow, Delhi and Ahmedabad in connection with a money laundering case against alleged drug trafficker Ali Asgar Shirazi and others.
The agency had initiated the investigation based on an FIR registered by Mumbai’s Jogeshwari police station, invoking relevant Sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 against Mr. Shirazi and others.
The investigation revealed that the drug syndicate operated by Mr. Shirazi included telecommunication companies running call centres, websites, logistic companies, consultancy companies and dummy pharma companies wherein illegal shipping of opioids from India to foreign countries and routing of the proceeds of the sale of the same to India using various channels were done.
The search operations have revealed that various companies incorporated in the USA by members of this syndicate have been operating payment gateways, officials said. The said payment gateways have been used by this syndicate to route the proceeds of sale of opioids in the U.S. to India. During the investigation, it was found that there were huge cash deposits in the accounts linked to Mr. Shirazi and related persons/entities, which prima facie appears to be illegal money earned via selling of various drugs like ketamine.
“During the searches, we seized a total of ₹2.17 crore in FDRs and cash. Further, several digital devices, including mobile phones and laptops, and incriminating documents related to properties and records of transactions related to opioid medicines were also seized,” they said.
Mr. Shirazi was arrested on January 5. Searches were also conducted at 10 locations in Mumbai in October, 2023 in which ₹62.61 lakh in cash and valuables and several digital devices, including mobile phones and laptops, and other incriminating records were seized.