A magistrate court in Mumbai has sent Muchhad Paanwala, Mumbai’s famous paan seller at Kemps Corner, whom the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had arrested on 11 January, to judicial custody.
The NCB had questioned and then arrested Mucchad Paanwala owner Ramkumar Tiwari in connection with a drug probe on 11 January night. He was sent to judicial custody after NCB did not seek custody of Muchhad Paanwala but sought custody of the two others who were earlier arrested in the case.
Muchhad Paanwala’s name had come up after the NCB busted a major marijuana smuggling racket and arrested a British national and two women from Bandra, Mumbai in connection with a Marijuana supply ring case.
On 9 January, NCB officials had arrested a British national and two women from Bandra in Mumbai in connection with a marijuana supply ring case. During the interrogation, the accused revealed the drug was going to Muchhad Paanwala at Kemps Corner in south Mumbai.
According to NCB officials, British national Karan Sajnani had imported marijuana or ganja from America by courier. The NCB officials raided Sajnani’s house in Bandra where they found approximately 200 kg of the contraband.
According to NCB officials, Sajnani had taken up a factory in Uttar Pradesh where he was mixing tobacco infused with CBD oil and crushed marijuana that he was selling as Herbal product.
Sajnani’s partner 35-year-old Rahila Furniturewala handled all the monetary transactions. According to the NCB, She paid through her credit card for the contraband and received money for the herbal products sold as well.
NCB officials arrested the two on 9 January. It was during the interrogation and recording of his statement that Sajnani had told the investigators that he had given some bit of the ‘herbal product’ to Tiwari as well.
NCB officials raided Tiwari’s stall at Bhulabhai Desai road and found 500 g of the contraband. NCB officials say that Sajnani had handed over the packet to Tiwari so that he could sell the product at his stall. Sajnani had given the product for free to Tiwari, say officials.
Tiwari has about 40 stalls of Muchchad Paanwala across Mumbai. His famed paan or betel leaves are sold abroad as well. Tiwari had inherited the property from his forefathers who ran the business successfully.
Since the quantity of contraband recovered from Tiwari was legally consumable, NCB did not seek his custody.
Tiwari’s lawyers filed for bail stating that he will cooperate with the investigation. Advocate Sarpande said that the NCB would file a reply to the bail application by 13 January. Until the court grants him bail, Tiwari will have to be in jail.
Special public prosecutor Atul Sarpande argued that there “is much information (sic) that is still needed from the two accused, Sajnani and Rahila Furniturewala, for the investigation to proceed further and that is why NCB needs their custody”.
Many Bollywood celebrities, industrialists and other VIPs are regular customers of Muchhad Paanwala.