Party drugs haul worth $450m seized in In­dia


Mil­lions of tablets of a recre­ational drug with an es­ti­mated street value of nearly $450 mil­lion have been seized and a Bol­ly­wood film pro­ducer has been ar­rested in west­ern In­dia, of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day. More than 20 mil­lion tablets of the banned drug Man­drax were found stashed in­side a fizzy drinks fac­tory in the city of Udaipur by cus­toms of­fi­cers dur­ing mul­ti­ple raids in Oc­to­ber. It was one of In­dia’s big­gest-ever drug hauls.

Na­jib Shah, head of the cen­tral board of ex­cise and cus­toms, said they had ar­rested a Bol­ly­wood film pro­ducer for his role in the drug stash. “The to­tal con­sign­ment was about 23.5 met­ric tons with an in­ter­na­tional value of 3,000 crore,” Shah told re­porters in New Delhi. Sub­has Dud­hani, a pro­ducer based in In­dia’s movie cap­i­tal Bol­ly­wood, was ar­rested in Mum­bai after the drugs were re­cov­ered, Shah said.

Of­fi­cials say they sus­pect the drugs were des­tined to be smug­gled to the African con­ti­nent. A cus­toms of­fi­cer told AFP on con­di­tion of anonymity the con­sign­ment was hid­den in a se­cret room, which was un­cov­ered after con­crete walls had been bro­ken down. “We are on the look­out for sev­eral peo­ple in­volved in the drug syn­di­cate,” the of­fi­cer said. Methaqualone is the chem­i­cal name of Man­drax, a psy­chotropic drug which is pop­u­lar on the rave scene in parts of Africa and Asia. The drug is com­monly known as M-Pills, but­tons or smar­ties and is usu­ally smoked mixed with cannabis. An over­dose can be fa­tal or leave the user in a coma. — AFP

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