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    25 kg ephedrine haul at Central Railway Station

    CHENNAI: In a major haul, sleuths of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence seized 25 kg of banned ephedrine, worth Rs 5 crore in the international market, at the Central railway station here and arrested a drug agent and two carriers on Sunday.Acting on a tip off that two passengers travelling by Mumbai-Chennai Mail were in possession of contraband, DRI sleuths boarded the train at Renigunta at 1.15 am, additional director-general of police, DRI, C Rajan told Express. They zeroed in on the suspects and grilled them. However, the two men denied any knowledge of the plan to smuggle drugs from Mumbai to Chennai. A search of their clothes and baggage too did not yield anything, he said. On arriving at the Central railway station, the DRI team took the suspects to the luggage van and asked the railway personnel whether any parcel had been booked against the tickets purchased by the duo. “There was a wooden crate booked under their name,” the DRI chief said.On opening the crate, the officers found polythene bags containing ephedrine, a drug banned under the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, weighing a total 25 kg and worth Rs 5 crore in the international drug market, Rajan said.Grilled further, the two men spilled the beans, claiming that they were mere carriers and an agent was awaiting their arrival at the railway station. The agent too was intercepted and picked up.Identifying the trio as K Karthik (23), Thamizarasan (25) and Raja (22), all from Ambattur, the DRI chief said the three men had left by flight for Mumbai two days ago. “After procuring the drugs, Karthik returned by flight on Saturday evening, while the carriers boarded a train,” the ADGP said.The officer added that drugs such as ephedrine and ketamine were procured by drug agents from either Mumbai or Hyderabad and brought to Chennai, from where they were sent to Malaysia. He pointed to the seizure of 97 kg of the narcotics substance, worth `1,000 crore, from a factory in Hyderabad in December last and the arrest of four persons in this connection. “Had we not intercepted the consignment at the railway station, it would have been split into small packets of 2-3 kg and sent to Malaysia.”During interrogation, it also came to light that Karthik was the son of a notorious drug agent, Kannappan, who was arrested at the airport here in June last, while trying to smuggle 14.5 kg ketamine in an ice bowl. “Kannappan died later and Karthik took over the trade, the DRI chief said.The three men were arrested and booked under the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act.