Pubdate: Fri, 25 May 2007
Source: Asian Pacific Post, The (CN BC)
Page: 22
Copyright: 2007 The Asian Pacific Post.
Bookmark: (Marijuana)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


An Indian court has ordered police to look into claims that an alleged
drug kingpin from Surrey, B.C. is now supplying dope to inmates at
Delhi's Tihar jail -- Asia's largest prison complex.

Gurdish Toor, 29, was arrested in Delhi last August in connection with
the seizure of 100 kilograms of ephedrine worth C$24 million dollars
that was destined for the North American markets.

Police also seized three kg of hashish worth 100 million rupees (about
C$2.4 million) concealed in a consignment of paintings headed for
Canada and about 600 kg of white powdery drugs which have been sent
for analysis.

The investigation into Toor's alleged prison drug racket was ordered
this month by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kamini Lau.

It was triggered by complaints by several prisoners, including murder
suspect Vikram Singh.

Vikram Singh claimed that Toor was working with prison guards and that
he saw him fighting with another inmate known as 'Cocaine Ali'.

'Cocaine Ali' or Naqibullah Ali was found dead in his prison cell
three months ago.

Jail authorities initially said he had committed suicide but a post
mortem found cuts and bruises on his body.

The cause of his death was later changed to "asphyxia due to

Vikram Singh in a letter to the courts claimed he fears for his life
after exposing the prison drug racket.

A judge has ordered the prison authorities to protect Vikram Singh and
transport him to and from courts in a special van while the
investigation continues.

In his letter, Vikram Singh further alleges the Deputy Superintendent
of Tihar Jail No 3, Rakesh Sharma, one Tikkat Siddiqui, another
accused name Kartik and Toor, are the masterminds of the drug racket
in the jail.

The Asian Pacific Post first reported Toor's arrest in India last

The story was this year followed up by The Vancouver

In our report, we detailed how Toor allegedly ran an international
criminal syndicate supplying ephedrine - a highly sought-after
chemical precursor in the illicit manufacture of  Crystal Meth,
Ecstasy and Ice that are popular at all-night dance parties such as
"raves" or "trances," dance clubs, and bars.

"The recovery is one of the biggest in the country. It is for the
first time that such a big haul of party drugs was recovered," said
Ravindra Yadav, deputy commissioner of police in South Delhi at the
time of Toor's arrest.

The lanky Toor allegedly told police that he cultivated marijuana in
B.C., works with Asian drug smugglers in Canada and used import-export
companies as fronts to ship drugs.

After his arrest, RCMP officers visited Toor and two other
Indo-Canadian drug suspects at the Tihar jail last December.

The other two were identified as Harjinder Singh Bassi from Brampton,
Ont and Rajinder Singh.

After the visit, The Asian Pacific Post reported that  Canadian
police, who interviewed Toor, are hunting for a man identified as
"Carl Cassola" described as a vital link in the India-Canada pipeline.

Indian police allege that Toor was in constant touch with Cassola,
also believed to be a Canadian national, who was staying at the Grand
Hotel in Delhi's Vasant Kunj area a month before the B.C. man was
arrested. They said Toor's phone records showed that he had sent
several messages to Cassola.

Toor's drug shipment was destined for Brampton, Ontario, where Bassi

Toor entered India on a six month tourist visa in August 2004 and
never returned to Canada. His parents and grandparents migrated to
Canada in the early seventies.

Following his arrest, Indian newspapers have been questioning why
Toor, who had been on the police radar for almost two years, was
allowed to operate with impunity in the Doaba region of Punjab, where
most Indo-Canadian migrants hail from.

Toor operated firms like Golden Shield Private Limited, Simran Rice
and Blue Horse Trading Limited in the industrial city of Ludhiana.
These firms were apparently dealing in export of rice and drugs to
Canada and the United States. Police described the companies as fronts
for the drug cartel.

Toor, police said, lived a lavish life spending up to 50,000 rupees
(C$1,100) per day -  a fortune in India where the average income is
less than $500 a year and had a fleet of luxury cars.

He also built a huge mansion and has amassed unaccounted land and
properties, which police believe are the proceeds of crime. The
suspect had also obtained an export license from directorate of
foreign trade, even though getting license is very difficult for
genuine exporters.

Allegations of a drug pipeline into Tihar jail comes as several
inmates complained this month of corruption, harassment and abuse at
India's largest prison complex.

One murder accused awaiting trial at Tihar reportedly slashed his
wrists so he could come before a judge to air his complaints.

Early this month, over 100 inmates in the high security jail went on
hunger strike demanding early trial.

"They are demanding that the president direct the judiciary to
complete trial of their cases within a year as many of them have been
facing trial for many years," a jail official told local media .

Tihar Jail in New Delhi is one of the largest prison complexes in the
world. It comprises of nine prisons in the Tihar Complex with a total
population of around 13,000 prisoners against a sanctioned capacity of
4,800 prisoners. In a year about 70,000-80,000 people remain lodged in
these prisons for different durations.

About 80 percent of the inmates are awaiting trial. There are also
about 520 women prisoners with about 41 children below 4 years of age
dependent upon them. 
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