Pune: New Suspects Identified in Drug Case Linked To Prisoners At Sassoon Hospital; Police Search Underway

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Pune, 17th October 2023: In a significant development, seven additional suspects have been identified in the ongoing investigation related to the alleged drug racket being run by the jailed prisoner from the Sassoon Hospital. This revelation comes after crucial information was obtained from suppliers of the raw materials essential for drug production. The police disclosed this information in court on Monday, the 16th, as they continued their search for these individuals.

The newly identified suspects are named as Saadhan Babaji Kamble, Shivaji Shinde, Jishan Iqbal Sheikh, Rahul Pandit (alias), Rohit Kumar (alias Amit Kumar) – all residents of Nashik, and Harish Pant, Imran Sheikh, and Golu – all residing in Mumbai. The facility where the primary accused in the case, Lalit Patil, and his associates manufactured mephedrone in the ‘MIDC’ area in Nashik, belongs to Kamble. Shinde was responsible for supplying the necessary raw materials, while Pant, Jishan, and Pandit were involved in the manufacturing process. Imran and Golu were found to be engaged in selling the manufactured drug, as revealed in the police’s remand report presented in court.

Preliminary investigations have uncovered that both the arrested and absconding accused earned substantial financial gains from the sale of mephedrone. In light of these findings, the police are actively exploring the possibility of other individuals involved in this criminal network. Public prosecutor Neelam Yadav-Ethape argued for an eight-day extension of police custody for Bhushan Patil and Abhishek Balakawade, which was granted by First Class Judicial Magistrate AC Birajdar until October 20.

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While two of the newly identified accused are in custody, police efforts to detain the rest have so far been unsuccessful. Despite the seizure of key materials related to the crime, Sandeep Bali, the accused’s lawyer, argued against the need for further police custody.

A search of Bhushan Patil’s residence led to the discovery of eight pen drives linked to the case, and police also confiscated three kilograms of gold from Balakawade. Preliminary inquiries revealed that Lalit Patil had received five kilograms of gold using proceeds from the mephedrone sales.

The ongoing investigation aims to address the following questions, “Who else is involved in the supply of raw materials?”, ” How was the money obtained from the mephedrone sales utilized?” and “Who provided instruction to the accused on drug production?”

Notably, two of the seven newly identified suspects are already in custody in a separate case registered in Mumbai, namely Jishan Sheikh and Shivaji Shinde. Both individuals will be produced in court under the court’s permission for the case registered at the Bundgarden police station. Thus far, police have questioned 12 witnesses during the investigation.

In a separate development, the court issued a disciplinary notice to Sunil Tambe, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, for attending court proceedings in plain clothes. The notice stipulates the submission of a written statement within 15 days through the Commissioner of Police.


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