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NIA arrests ‘key accused’ bank manager in ‘narco-terror’ case

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Srinagar: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday claimed to have arrested the “key accused” — a branch manager of a Cooperative Bank — from Srinagar in a “narco-terror” case.

Afaq Ahmad Wani, a resident of Maratgam village of Handwara, is the fourth person to have been arrested after the “drug syndicate” operating in Jammu and Kashmir was busted last month.

It led to the seizure of 21 kg of heroin and over Rs 1.35 crore in cash from the arrested persons.

An NIA spokesperson said “the investigation so far has revealed that the accused persons were smuggling the drug and other psychotropic substances in huge quantities through the Line of Control (LoC) and the proceeds of sale were used to finance the activities of the Lashker-e-Toiba in Kashmir Valley.”

Wani, a branch manager of Baramulla Central Cooperative Bank in Handwara, had been on the run since June 11 when the module was busted.

“He was located and arrested from his hideout in Srinagar on Thursday. Earlier, a cash amount of Rs 30.30 lakh and heroin weighing 3.2 kg were seized from his house in Handwara (in Kupwara district),” the spokesperson said.

He said the accused was produced before an NIA special court in Jammu this afternoon.

The accused has been sent to 12-day NIA custody for interrogation.

On June 11, the Handwara police intercepted a vehicle without having any registration number plate. It was going from Baramulla to Handwara.

The vehicle was being driven by one Abdul Momin Peer of New Colony locality of Bemina in Srinagar and its search led to the recovery of Rs 20.01 lakh in cash and 6.2 kg heroin which was found concealed in a black bag under the front seat, the spokesperson said.

Subsequently, the police arrested two more accused — Iftiqar Andrabi of Laribal-Rajwara and Peer Islam-ul-Haq of Waskoora-Handwara.

Houses of the accused were also searched, leading to recovery of more cash and heroin, the spokesman said.

He said the NIA took over the case on June 23 and further investigation is continuing.

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