India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has announced that they apprehended two people on charges of drug trafficking, and recovered 59 grams of marijuana from the operation.
The two suspects, including one college student from Pali Hill in Bandra and another individual from Powai, are said to have been involved in the trafficking of bud – which is a term denoting the dried and cured part of the cannabis plant meant for consumption.
Although the remand application issued to the court failed to cite the pair’s connection with the high profile Rhea Chakraborty case involving darknet-purchased drugs, it is reported that the NCB confirmed a connection between the two suspects’ supplier and some figures in Bollywood.
The name “bud” surfaced recently after India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) accessed WhatsApp chat records belonging to famous actress and VJ Rhea Chakraborty.
It is alleged that the actress had engaged in a conversation with someone where the words “hash” and “bud” had been used. The information relating to the drug-related communication is what gave rise to an independent inquiry by the NCB and ED.
Role of the Darknet
While commenting on the case, a senior official identified the suspects as Karan Arora and Abbas Ramzan Ali Lakhani whose eventual arrest was preceded by a well-defined intelligence undertaking.
In highlight, the NCB official elucidated the structure of the drug distribution network that has been created around bud. It turns out that the drug exists in a number of different strains, which are peddled by darknet-savvy importers who source the stuff from foreign countries.
The imported bud finds its way into Indian parties through concealed shipments sent by courier and post.
Further, the NCB representative reflected on the fact that the two arrestees were youths in their early 20s. Arora, the college student, is reported to have become part of the drug ring by virtue of his own drug consumption habits.
On the other hand, Abbas was identified as a drug peddler who plied his trade that supplied customers from all walks of life. He was involved in drug sales involving the distribution of BDA-substances reported to be in high demand within the Bollywood industry.
According to a news article by India TV News, Abbas used to supply the drugs for Rs 5,000 for every gram, while Karan used to purchase the substances in large quantities that would then be distributed to other drug peddlers.
The pair took advantage of the ripple effect that the drug purchases caused – their customers would be involved in the operation’s supply chain at some point, including a host of Indian movie stars and established drug dealers.
Further, the NCB intimated that due to the current Chakraborty case in court, the two persons had become spooked about peddling the bud – considering that law enforcement agents encountered only 55g of the substance during their arrest even though the pair kept more than 2kg of bud at any given time.
In addition, Indian law enforcement noted that Abbas had managed to keep his customers supplied throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as the quantity and availability of bud had taken a dip.
To conclude, the popularity of marijuana across Indian social circles has been the subject of various studies looking to expose its demand within city circles.
According to a 2018 study by the German data firm ABCD, India’s largest cities – New Delhi and Mumbai – recorded 38.2 tonnes and 32.4 tonnes of marijuana as part of the biggest users of the drug in the world.
As Mumbai was considered sixth in a list of 120 global cities by marijuana consumption, New Delhi was ranked just behind New York and Karachi.