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Pune cops bust marijuana racket

Contraband was sold as ayurvedic preparation in city pan shops.

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The Pune police have busted a racket of selling marijuana in the form of an ayurvedic preparation in city shops with the arrest of Swapnil Mali (23) in November.

Mali of Dhankavdi was the alleged brain behind flooding the city pan shops with the preparation called Tarang Manuka Yukta Pachak Vati. Sold as a digestive aid, the Pune police had confirmed the presence of marijuana in the concoction
in 2009.

The Pune police anti-narcotic cell had received a tip-off in the form of an unsigned letter in 2009 about the presence of marijuana in Tarang. The preparation was sent to a forensic laboratory for chemical analysis and it confirmed the presence of the contraband in September 2009.

The cell incharge and inspector Satish Deore told DNA, “We received a letter written in Marathi by an unknown person on July 30, 2009. After an expert’s conclusion, cases were filed under the relevant sections of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. We registered only two cases in 2010, but the figure rose to 10 in 2011 and we zeroed down to the distributor.”

The cell raided the main pan shop and from August 5, 2011, similar shops under Yerawada, Hinjewadi, Pimpri, Sangvi, Sahakarnagar, Wanavdi and Warje Malwadi police stations’ jurisdiction were raided and 32.497 kilogram tablets totally valued at Rs61,645 were seized. The agency also arrested 13 people, including the kingpin.

“The licenced drug is manufactured in Indore and is sold at a price higher than its MRP of Re 1. We plan to submit our report to the narcotics control bureau main office in Mumbai and they will deal with Indore,” he said.

The table of content on the Tarang packet states 9 different components like manuka (rajence) 0.18 grams, trifala 0.06 grams, sonat 0.03 grams, black pepper 0.03 grams, jaggery 0.12 grams, salt 0.02 grams, black salt 0.02 grams, vijaya 0.20 grams, kajjur (date) 0.18 grams and sugar 0.16 grams, but does not
mention marijuana.

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