In a major drug bust, Narcotics Control Bureau(NCB) officials have arrested a Bengaluru-based scientist and an Indian Air Force (IAF) officer with two others for cooking amphetamine in Hyderabad. The officials also seized 231 kilos of the narcotic substance, worth Rs 45 crore, and Rs 1.23 crore cash from their possession.

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Air Force Wing Commander Rajasekhar Reddy was caught in Nanded in Maharashtra, reportedly on the weekend. He had reportedly been tracked for days both by the Narcotics Control Bureau and the Air Force. More officers are believed to be under surveillance.

The NCB investigators nabbed Venkat Ramana Rao, 37, a scientist with a reputed chemical unit in Bengaluru, his wife Preethi, 35, and Venkat’s Hyderabad associate Ravi Shankar Rao, 22. On a tip-off, the NCB sleuths apprehended Venkat and Ravi at Miyapur on September 30 while they were travelling in a vehicle and seized 221 kilos of highquality amphetamine powder from their possession. Based on the confession of the duo, the NCB sleuths raided Venkat’s house at Hebbagodi near Electronic City in Bengaluru on the same day and seized 10 grams of the contraband along with Rs 1.23 crore cash. The NCB sleuths arrested Venkat’s wife Preethi for attempting to hide the cash.

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During the investigation, the NCB officials found that the duo had leased a chemical reactor at a factory in IDA Bolarum by informing the owners that they would be manufacturing a drug to cure diarrhoea. “However, instead of making the medicine, the accused were using the reactor to cook amphetamine,” an NCB official said.

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Amphetamine is a potent central nervous system stimulant and used as an aphrodisiac and euphoriant by abusers. It is the parent compound in psychotropic substances like Bupropion, Cathinone, MDMA (Ecstacy) and Methamphetamine.

Amphetamine sells at around Rs. 18-20 lakh a kilo.

Sources say Venkat Rama Rao, a research scientist, was a key member of the syndicate. He and Rajasekhar Reddy had been classmates and resumed contact when the Air Force officer was posted in Bengaluru.

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