World Drug Report 2020


Campaign – Make Mumbai Union Territory (UT) – Mumbai is more than Shivsena, Bachchans and Thackerays: How the crisis city has been made a den of international crime over the years and now poses a risk to national security.
Preamble: We think that the time has come to make all Metros come under Union Territories. Mumbai as well as Calcutta are most ripe for it. Let’s start with Mumbai . This is a task that Modi govt must finish in this tenure in the larger national interest. We will run a campaign through our Blog of Samanvaya to highlight the crime and security issues emanating from these cities. Here is the first in the series.
The Raut – Kangana spat made us look deep into Mumbai’s history. We checked a few books on urbanisation and found this excellent book by Jeb Brugmann – Urban Revolution. He puts Mumbai in the category of Crisis Cities along with Detroit. The book is more about Urban migration and development of city ghettos like Dharvi which is not just about slum dweller paradise but den of drugs, crime and all other things.
We can’t stop ourselves to ignore a comment that Jaya Bachchan made today in parliament. It only goes to show how foolish our politicians are in general where they cannot see beyond some immediate selfish interests. This lady thinks she spoke brilliantly. BUt the truth is she made a fool of herself.
India, like any emerging great power, faces an array of strategic challenges. One that critically threatens both economic development and national security, but which so far has attracted surprisingly little attention, is illicit trade. This menace has been going on for years mostly with a nexus of the perpetrator and the protectors. And Mumbai has a special place in all this. Myanmar has emerged as a major center for bringing illicit items in the country and Perhaps not coincidentally, the Indian border state of Manipur, in addition to suffering from separatist violence, has one of the worst drug addiction problems in the country.(…/for-economy-and…).
But Mumbai has a special role in all this along with the coastal Gujarat borders which are all excellent conduit centers for rerouting the item coming from
Pak, Afhgan andAddis Ababa. (…/sea-corridor-new…). (…/story…).
Government after government exploited and raped this Maximum city blindly and without guilt. In the name of regional emotions and passions the governance part became weak and worse. From the times of 1960s where haji Mastan, Vardrajan, Karim lala to the more notorious period od D gang in subsequent years of 70s and later by the local desi Bhai log like Arun Gawli, Hitendra Thakur Chota Rajan, Chota Shakeel , Iqbal Mirchi Abu Salem et al. of the 90s. The collusion of politicians, govt officers, police to this crime business has not been hidden and is well known.
They excelled in Hawala, Hundi, Gold smuggling and Drugs which has become the mainstay in recent times. their connection to Bollywood is no surprise to anyone. Similarly the builder lobby is also said to receive underworlds money and many have invested in Mumbai’s growing realty business. Diamond trade has also been used to circulate hawala transactions. The present Gold smuggling case of Kerala must be an eye opener to authorities and govt that this business is not dead and the relationship of Kerala Gold smuggling with Mumbai based dons need to be still explored. (…/31634038.cms…).
Aided by its excellent location with harbors, dockyards, ports and cheap labour Mumbai is recognised as one of the top cities internally for organised crime groups (OCGs). The terror attack on Hotel Taj cannot be wished away merely as an act of Pak based terror activists and ISI. RVS Mani former bureaucrat and Secretary in Home Ministry has raised serious questions about 26/11 incident and this nexus (…/RVS-Mani-on-Mumbai-terror…).
Organised crime in Bombay is a reality that was created by the commissions and omissions of various governments in Independent India. The general culture of corruption creates a fertile ground for it, just as OCGs themselves along with the industrial, business and political elites of India contribute to the spread of corruption. The penetration of OCGs in Bombay into various systems of governance is considerable. There are too many stakeholders requiring OCGs and too much money is involved. The situation is such that it can not be eradicated but can only be contained.
In 2018, India exported over $17 billion of pharmaceutical drugs, and it has been the leading generic drug manufacturer in the world for several years. Estimates suggest that India exports twice the volume of pharmaceutical drugs as China. Drug traffickers exploit this commercial infrastructure – and India’s rare combination of technical expertise and chemical source supplies – to market dangerous synthetic drugs in the United States and elsewhere. U.S. and international law enforcement authorities have voiced concerns that transnational criminal organizations could target India’s pharmaceutical laboratories and chemists to produce illicit fentanyl and fentanyl analogues.(…/532-kg-heroin-haul…).
Drug use around the world has been on the rise, in terms of both overall numbers and the proportion of the world’s population that uses drugs. Cannabis the most used substance, opioids the most harmful. An estimated 192 million people used cannabis in 2018, making it the most used drug globally. The stimulant scene is dominated by cocaine and methamphetamine, and use of both substances is rising in their main markets. Drug markets are becoming increasingly complex. Plant-based substances such as cannabis, cocaine and heroin have been joined by hundreds of synthetic drugs, many not under international control. States with sizeable numbers of current cocaine users are Maharashtra (90,000), Punjab (27,000), Rajasthan (10,000) and Karnataka (8000). States with sizable numbers of hallucinogen users are Maharashtra (6 lakh), Telangana (2 lakh), Kerala (1 lakh)and Delhi (63 thousand). (…/Magnitude_Substance_Use…).
In its annual reports, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has long counted India among the world’s top suppliers of synthetic drugs and chemicals such as acetic anhydride used to process poppy into heroin. And the United States has named India among the world’s top twenty drug transit or drug producing countries, along with three other Asian nations — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Myanmar.
The growing fraternity of peddlers in Mumbai and their network is highly dangerous and should be an eye opener to the government. Many people, especially the younger generation, are falling for this trap with easy money. The government has to go after the Big fish rather than the small ones who do it mainly for small monetary reasons. But the larger angle to this menace is far and many. The recent disclosure of Chinese data firm checking credentials of many Indians is a a case in point. Such data can be used to blackmail officers
Mumbai is a big HUB of everything that is possible under the sun in the crime world. Huge money is involved along with all around nexus. No local politician or political party can escape the blame of being weak to this murky business. The local police cannot be trusted because of pressure from the state governments. The only solution to this growing threat to national interest is to make the city a Union Territory and ruled by the center. This will place some constraint on the crime scenario and can check the nexus between local men and the crime world. We would like to recommend Honourable PM Modi and HM Amit Shah to consider this on a priority business. The narratives on social media to the shady business happening anywhere in the country has one or other relationship with Mumbai. Unless Mumbai crime and cartel is controlled the threats to the country will remain unchallenged. A first step towards this can be to make the city a UT.
Part Two. ( can be read separately)
The Drug trade:
Mumbai is the hub of drug trade. The roots of this billion dollar industry goes back to the days of Karim lala in the 60s. He dealt in Hashish procured from Pakistan and Afghanistan and exported them to UK and European countries by the name Bombay Black. He was followed by Iqbal Mirchi as the other underworld leaders of the time faced one problem or another or backed out.
The drug business mushroomed in the eighties with the arrival of heroin and Brown sugar in the market with huge profits. Iqbals Mirchi’s empire runs from India to Canada, Dubai, Australia, South Africa , Hongkong and many other places. He has invested in realty business in India Mirchi played a double role and also acted as informer to customs officials while protecting his own business.
The Dawood group has its bases in Dubai, London, Singapore, Colombo and Kathmandu. At the national level they operate from Bangalore, Delhi,, Indore, Uttar Pradesh, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. In Bombay Dawood has acquired around 54 structures, through both legal and benami (Proxy) transactions. Activities undertaken by Dawood for maintaining his 1750 million USD monolithic smuggling cum trafficking empire include gold smuggling, drug trade, “vasooli” (collecting dues from business men), settling scores, procuring foreign exchange, “supari” (contract killing), securing college admissions. Many of the public from all walks of life approach him for justice, be it businessmen, industrialists or film personalities. The work force running the show is grouped in the following categories: . Money managers, . Overseers of business transactions, . Messengers, . Fixers, . Go between politicians and the police.
One such person was Romesh Sharma, a front man for Dawood. The actual name of Romesh Sharma is Styanarian Mishra. A native of Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh he is known in the political circle since the time of Varadha Rajan.
The focus on Romesh came partly from his involvement in facilitating the Visa for Dawood’s mother, soon after the Bombay bomb blast. It was found that Romesh had property worth 125 million USD, fixed deposits worth 175,000 USD, shares worth 250,000 USD, jewelry worth 125,000 USD and vehicles worth one million USD, without any accountable source.
There are around fourteen important places for drug sale within the city plus many other small time sellers. In each of the fourteen spots there are more than two peddlers selling the drug on a daily basis. All of them maintain good business relations with the officials to sustain their business.
The Drug peddlers:
Peddlers maintain a cordial relationship with the police. They give a weekly contribution called “hafta” to the policemen. When the business is doing well, then they have to give a larger contribution. At times rival peddlers in the same area inform the police about the status of business. Though they maintain a cordial relationship with officials, they are at times arrested depending on the pressure from the top for some action. On being arrested, a peddler doesn’t have to end his business, another member of the family can take over and manage it. On other occasions when the business in one area is completely disrupted, another new area crops up to cater to drug users’ demand.The basic objective of peddling is to give, on a daily basis, the regular customer good stuff on demand. Even at night, the demands of regular customers are met. When the police pick up one of the peddlers in the locality, the others then stop their business, close shop for the day, go to the movies or go shopping.

Asheesh Shah
Author: Asheesh Shah

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