A Tamil-speaking Malaysian national, aged 58, was arrested at Kempagowda International Airport in Bangalore with 2.05 kg of ketamine worth Indian Rs 40 lakh which was to be smuggled to Malaysia via Sri Lanka.
The man was identified as Gopal Ram. The zonal unit of the directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) conducted the operation reportedly based on a specific tip-off that a ketamine consignment was to be smuggled to Kuala Lumpur via Bengaluru. Initial investigation suggests that the contraband was procured from Chennai and was stashed beneath a plywood false bottom of Gopal’s trolley luggage in polythene packets, the Bangalore Mirror reported.
“The accused was planning to fly from Bengaluru to Sri lanka by the 9:05 pm Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL 172. From Colombo he was planning to head to Kuala Lumpur. We are investigating further as initially he refused to acknowledge that the contraband was found from his luggage,” said sources. Gopal had reportedly flown twice last year to Trichy in Tamil Nadu.
He has told the officials that he was employed as a service supervisor at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur. As per his travel documents, he arrived in Bengaluru on March 12 on a tourist visa and is believed to have headed to Chennai. He returned to the city on Thursday morning.
“The drug consignment was procured in Chennai where there is an active supply network of ketamine. We suspect he was instructed to fly out of Bengaluru to avoid detection in Tamil Nadu. The suspect has been behaving in a suave and sophisticated manner so far unlike the usual drug carriers who get apprehended at airports. We are probing his background for more details,” sources added.
Gopal was produced before a magistrate and remanded to judicial custody.