On March 6, the Pune crime branch had arrested Harkatsingh alias Chotu Indrajeetsingh Gathode and Ashraf alias Niya Abdul Jalil Thakur near JJ Garden in Pune Cantonment with cocaine. Gathode (21) is a real estate agent and a resident of Brahma Avenue in Kondhwa. Ashraf, also 21 years old, lives in Bhagyodaynagar in Kondhwa. The value of the seized cocaine is Rs 10 lakh in the Indian market but in the international marker it is worth Rs 70 lakh. Gathode’s car worth Rs 1.5 lakh was seized for allegedly using it in the crime.
Gathode told the police that one Christopher Nwabueze supplied him the drugs. The police found that Christopher Nwabueze aka Gabriel is a Nigerian by birth and lives at Saaligao in Bardez taluka of Goa. A team led by assistant police inspector Arvind Gokule left for Goa on March 9 along with Gothade.
Gokule said, “On March 11, we sent Gothade to Christopher as a decoy for purchasing cocaine. The Nigerian told Gathode to meet him at a place in Baga. He, however, saw the police and tried to run away on his two-wheeler but got arrested.”
Christopher had come to India on a business visa on August 27, 2011, but investigations show that he was visiting Goa regularly since 2003 for selling cocaine. During questioning, Christopher claimed that he was not involved in drugs but was a garment trader.
The police have seized Christopher’s passport and driving licence. His name on the licence is ‘Gabriel’. However, photographs on both the documents are similar. The police suspect that a few more Nigerians may be involved in drug-peddling.