Drug racket funneled profits into Canada

India is asking Canada to help it track down the assets of key members of a multi-million-dollar international drug syndicate that was operating from the state of Punjab.

India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) moved a 'letter of request', under the Prevention of the Money Laundering Act, seeking details of properties owned by the accused in Punjab's multi-crore synthetic drug racket in Canada and UK, local media said.

In the letter of request, the ED also provided a list of the persons who are suspected of having bought properties in Canada and UK from the proceeds of the crime.

Among the persons listed include former state minister Swaran Singh Phillaur and his son Damanvir Singh.

Among about 40 Indo-Canadians named in connection with the investigations by police and Indian media are; Satpreet Singh alias Satta, Amarinder Singh alias Laddi and Parminder Singh alias Pindi all from Edmonton and Dara Mothada, past president of Vancouver and Surrey-based sports club, Azaad Kabaddi B.C.

Others include Sarabjit Singh Nick a former kabaddi player from the Vancouver area, Harbans Sidhu of Toronto and Nirankara Singh Dhillon of Brampton.

None of the allegations have been proven and Mothada in a published interview has denied any connections to the drug trade saying: “I don’t do that... It’s all bullshit.”

The entire case is rooted in the November 2013 arrest of Jagdish Singh alias Bhola, a dismissed Punjab Police deputy superintendent and an internationally renowned wrestler.

Bhola, was one of the most wanted fugitives operating the drug trafficking racket in India, which indulged in manufacturing and smuggling of pseudoephedrine, methamphetamine and heroin into Europe, US, Canada and other countries.

In addition to using non-resident Indians living in Canada, Bhola, police allege hired Chinese and Vietnamese nationals for making drugs and shipping consignments to North America.

At the time of his arrest police seized millions in drugs at his hideouts, 35 passports, including eight Canadian ones and a US-made visa imprint machine.

Bhola was arrested after another Indo-Canadian drug smuggler, Anoop Singh Kahlon detained in early 2013, allegedly fingered him as the kingpin of the international syndicate.

Police said, Kahlon, a truck driver, who attempted suicide in an Indian jail after his arrest had been in Canada with his family since 1995. He had built a strong network of drug peddlers not only in US and Canada but in some European countries. He is said to have used at least two Canadian-based Hawala operators (underground bankers) to move money.

The Kahlon group also had connections with a third network run by another Punjab drug baron with links to Canada.

That group led by Ranjit Singh alias Raja Kandola was operating a party-drug manufacturing operation in Punjab, real estate scams and an illegal immigration operation.

Kandola managed a drug empire worth millions of rupees using top models and good-looking young women fluent in English as couriers to send and receive drug-consignments.

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