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ED files money laundering case in drug trafficking racket 'involving' ex-DMK functionary

New Delhi, Mar 10 (PTI) The Enforcement Directorate has registered a money laundering case to probe an international drugs trafficking racket that allegedly involves an arrested former functionary of the DMK, official sources said Sunday.

New Delhi, Mar 10 (PTI) The Enforcement Directorate has registered a money laundering case to probe an international drugs trafficking racket that allegedly involves an arrested former functionary of the DMK, official sources said Sunday.

The case has been filed by the federal agency under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) taking cognisance of a bunch of FIRs, including the recent Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) case where 36-year-old Jaffer Sadiq was arrested on Saturday for his alleged involvement in the smuggling of about 3,500 kgs of pseudoephedrine with a street value of more than Rs 2,000 crore.

The ED will probe if money earned from the illicit narcotics trade was laundered to create movable and immovable assets by the accused. The investigation will run parallel to the NCB probe, the sources said.

NCB deputy director general (DDG) Gyaneshwar Singh had told reporters on Saturday here that Sadiq's links with Tamil and Hindi film financiers, some 'high profile' people and some instances of 'political funding', were under its scanner.

The NCB is also expected to soon summon a senior DMK party functionary in connection with two transactions of Rs 7 lakh made by Sadiq, according to sources in the anti-narcotics agency.

Sadiq, a producer of Tamil films, was expelled by the ruling DMK in February after his name and purported links to the drugs network were mentioned by the NCB.

According to the NCB, he told the agency that he was the Chennai West deputy organiser of the DMK's NRI wing.

Sadiq was called the alleged 'mastermind and kingpin' of a trans-national pseudoephedrine smuggling racket spread across Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia from India, Singh had said.

Tamil Nadu Law Minister and DMK leader S Regupathy on Sunday asserted that his party had no links with Sadiq.

Addressing the issue of Sadiq being given membership in the party despite his links to the 2013 case, the senior DMK leader told reporters in Chennai that his party has over two crore members and it is not practically possible to check the antecedents of every single person who sought admission into it.

At the same time, he emphasised that whenever the wrongdoing of a member has been brought to the party's notice, immediate action has always been taken.

'People like Jaffer Sadiq have been expelled from the party,' he asserted.

The BJP said in Delhi Sadiq's arrest shows that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has now become 'Drug Marketing Kazhagam'.

The case came to light after the NCB along with the special cell of the Delhi Police raided a godown located in Delhi on February 15 and arrested three persons. This action came on a tip-off they (NCB) received towards the end of 2023 from the Australian and New Zealand authorities about 'large quantities' of pseudoephedrine concealed in desiccated coconut powder and mix food powder being smuggled into their countries from India.

The NCB claimed the three arrested persons and Sadiq informed them that total of 45 pseudoephedrine consignments were sent by them over the last three years, containing about 3,500 kg of pseudoephedrine valued at over Rs 2,000 crore in the international market.

Pseudoephedrine is a highly addictive synthetic drug, and even though it has some legal uses, it is classified as a controlled substance in India, bringing strict regulation on its production, possession, trade, export and use.

It is used to prepare a synthetic drug called methamphetamine.

Illegal possession and trade of pseudoephedrine is punishable up to 10 years of imprisonment under the NDPS Act. PTI NES KVK KVK

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