New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Thursday arrested Delhi-based businessman Kabir Talwar, who owns three popular nightclubs — The White, Jazbaa and RSVP — in connection with the Rs 21,000 crore Mundra Port drug haul case, where over 3,000 kg of heroin was recovered.
The NIA also arrested Prince Sharma, another businessman in connection with the case.
According to NIA sources, Talwar, who also goes by the name Harpreet Talwar, was the “kingpin on the Indian side”, who allegedly smuggled drugs, sold them to different peddlers and sent the money made from it to people in Afghanistan using hawala channels, who in turn funded terror groups.
“The arrested accused are a part of an international drug smuggling network involved in smuggling of large commercial quantities of heroin originating from Afghanistan into India. Heroin was being concealed in import consignments of material, such as semi-processed talc, bituminous coal, etc,” an NIA officer said in a statement.
“The accused persons were involved in import of narcotics through fake/shell import companies and further facilitated its transport to Delhi-based Afghan nationals involved in purification and distribution of heroin in many states, including Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and UP,” the officer added.
In an exclusive report, ThePrint Wednesday reported that Talwar was detained and questioned by the agency for two days, after searches were carried out at multiple locations in Delhi, Kolkata, Punjab and Gujarat in connection with the drugs bust case.
Among the places raided was Talwar’s club in Hotel Samrat and other godowns that he owned.
“We would like to clarify that the club does not belong to Hotel Samrat (ITDC) and the premises have been leased out to a private party who runs & manages it and Hotel Samrat and ITDC are in no way related to the club or the incident,” a statement by the India Tourism Corporation Development (ITDC) said.
According to a source, “The investigation revealed that the consignments reached some godowns in Delhi. When probed, they were found to be associated with the businessman who owns these clubs. He was questioned and was subsequently arrested.”
On 12 September last year, two containers had arrived at Mundra Port from Afghanistan via Iran, holding 38 jumbo bags filled with talc stones. Based on intelligence inputs, investigators of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) checked the containers and three out of the 38 bags were found to contain heroin.
Out of the 18 jumbo bags in the first container, two were found to contain 1,999.58 kg of heroin. Of the 20 bags found in the second container, 988 kg of heroin was recovered from one. The seized high-quality contraband was estimated to be worth over Rs 21,000 crore in the international market.
The NIA has so far arrested 10 people in connection with the case — five Afghans and five Indians. Six others — one Iranian and five Afghans — are still on the run. A detailed charge sheet was filed by the NIA against 16 alleged narcotics traffickers, including Afghan and Iranian nationals.
Also read: NIA questions Delhi businessman in Mundra drug haul case, raids locations in four states
‘Business tycoon, love for luxury’
Talwar is not new to controversies. In March last year, he was arrested by the DRI for allegedly smuggling 21,60,000 sticks of Gudang Garam cigarettes valued at Rs 4.75 crore in Mumbai.
According to a statement by the DRI, Talwar had attempted to smuggle these cigarettes in an import consignment arriving from Dubai.
According to a report published in Forbes India, Talwar, a graduate from Delhi University, started his career as a businessman very early with China’s Import-Export fair and subsequently founded the H.S. Impex Private Limited in 2007. With a penchant for luxury, he went on to own some of the world’s most exorbitant cars within a decade.
(This report has been updated with additional inputs)
Also read: Mundra Port drug haul: NIA raids multiple locations including private club in Delhi’s Samrat