In one of the biggest seizure of narcotics, officers of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) have seized about 23.5 metric tonnes of mandrax tablets (methaqualone), a banned psychotropic substance. They are estimated to be worth Rs 3,000 crore.
The officers were assisted by Border Security Force officials at Udaipur, according to an official release. The DRI is the apex counter-smuggling agency of the Central Board of Excise and Customs.
There was information that huge quantities of mandrax tablets had been concealed in at premises in Udaipur, Rajasthan, by one Mumbai-based mastermind. On October 28, 2016, a team of officers of the DRI raided the premises of Marudhar Drinks, Bhamasha Industial Area, Kaladwas, Udaipur.
During the search, DRI officers detected a hidden room filled with cartons of Mandrax tablets. This is one of the largest seizures of methaqualone not only in India but also in the world. The mastermind of the syndicate has been arrested by the DRI and follow-up operation is underway to nab others involved with the drug syndicate.
The major raw material for mandrax is acetic anhydride which was manufactured by the syndicate at Shreenath Industries, Rajsamand. The other raw materials for methaqualone, apart from acetic anhydride (manufactured at Shreenath Industries), are anthranillic acid (which was imported from Indonesia through Kandla Port by mis-declaring it as mallic anhydride), ortho toloudiene, phosporous trichloride, and caustic soda (procured locally).
Methaqualone is a depressant, overdose of which can lead to coma and death. It is used as a recreational drug in Africa and Asia. It is commonly known as mandrax, M-pills, buttons, or smarties, and is usually smoked mixed with cannabis.