KOCHI: Despite the manhunt for Ali, believed to be the mastermind of the MDMA smuggling operations here, failing to throw up leads, Excise officers are now mulling issuing a lookout notice to prevent him fleeing abroad again.
The Chennai- based Ali is familiar to drug peddlers and enforcement agencies. ‘Ali’ could be his nom de guerre for Kerala- specific operations. “He is known by a more familiar name. He operates from Triplicane in Chennai, where he is highly influential, having a mass operational base,’’ said a senior Excise officer.
The investigation team had visited Chennai as part of tracing Ali. He had earlier left for Malaysia soon after his aide Prasanth Kumar was arrested. Though he returned to Chennai a few days later, he went underground. Two of his mobile phones remain switched off. The officers are yet to ascertain the origin of the contraband. During the investigation, sleuths found Ali, who was into drug pushing, was forced to stay out following a few mismanaged operations.
He resumed the operations only recently and successfully sent a couple of consignments before another failed operation in Kochi.“He is wanted by several anti-narcotics agencies, including the Tamil Nadu Police, and we have been in touch with all of them,’’ an officer said.
Meanwhile, the custody period of Prashanth Kumar arrested in connection with the case ended on Saturday. Following this, he was presented before a magistrate and was remanded in judicial custody. The case pertains to the seizure of MDMA worth RS 200 crore from a courier parcel on September 29. Acting on a tip-off, sleuths seized 30 kg of the contraband from a courier firm near Shenoy’s Junction in the city.
The contraband, kept in 64 packets, was covered with carbon paper to evade detection during scanning at the airport and concealed inside clothes in eight cartons.