About 1.2 tonnes of banned ketamine drug, worth over Rs 118 crore in the international market, was on Saturday seized from an illegal drug manufacturing unit in Jalgaon district in north Maharashtra and six persons were arrested, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence officials said.
According to officials, this is one of the single biggest ketamine seizures in Western India. Confirming the development, Additional Director General of DRI PK Dash said that the kingpin of the illegal drug trade, Vikas Puri, a rank holder in Masters in Technology, has been arrested along with five others.
All of them will be produced in the local court on Sunday. DRI sources said that the sleuths raided the ketamine manufacturing facility named Rukhma Industries on Friday night located in Jalgoan, around 400 kms from Mumbai.
"During the raid, 1,175 kilograms of ketamine, with a market value of Rs 118 crore, was seized. Rukhma Industries does not have licence to manufacture Ketamine," said a DRI official.
"The drug was kept concealed in a sister unit called Biosynthetics, located close to Rukhma Industries," said a source.
Puri was on Saturday arrested from Powai in suburban Mumbai and a search at his residence resulted in seizure of Rs 1.2 crore in cash. "This money is purported to be sale proceeds of illegal trade of Ketamine," said a source.
According to sources, Puri is an MTech in Pharmaceuticals and Fine Chemicals from the prestigious University Department of Chemical Technology in Mumbai. He owns VC Pharma and Speciality Chemicals in Vikhroli in suburban Mumbai and has factories in Ratnagiri district.
DRI officials said that Puri used to source orders for ketamine and then ask Nitin Chinchole, the owner of Rukhma Industries to manufacture it. He has not yet been arrested.
Sources said that the accused had been dealing in the banned contraband drug for quite some time. Ketamine is classified as a psychotropic substance under the NDPS Act, 1985. A licence from the FDA is required to manufacture the drug and import/export permit is required from Central Bureau of Narcotics, Gwalior, to trade in the drug.