JAMMU, June 23: The BSF today foiled a major narcotics smuggling bid along the International Border in Kathua district and said it had gunned down a Pakistani smuggler during the operation.
Officials said 27 kg of heroin worth about Rs 135 crore in the international market was recovered by the Border Security Force (BSF) during search of the area near Pansar in Hiranagar sector.
Inspector General of Border Security Force, Jammu frontier, N S Jamwal said they are lodging a strong protest with the Pakistani army along with full evidence over the incident.
“For some time, we were getting inputs about possible attempts (from Pakistan) to smuggle narcotics through Kathua border. Our troops positioned in forward areas noticed movement of three to four persons between 2.30 am and 3 am,” he told reporters after inspecting the drugs seizure at Pansar border outpost area.
The officer said the smugglers crossed the zero line and reached near the border fencing when they were challenged by the security troops.
“The smugglers ignored the warning and the troops on the ground also heard cocking of a weapon by someone (among the intruders). The troops fired and one of the smugglers was killed, whose body was later recovered along with 27 kg of heroin in the morning during the search of the area,” the IG BSF said.
He said this is the same border outpost (Pansar) where on January 23, the BSF had detected a 150-metre underground tunnel meant to facilitate infiltration of terrorists from Pakistan for carrying out subversive activities.
On June 20 last year, BSF troops had shot down a Pakistani hexa copter with a payload of five-and-a-half kilograms, including a sophisticated US-made M4 semi-automatic carbine and seven Chinese grenades, in the same area.
“Pansar area was kept under constant observation and that is the reason why we got this big success,” Jamwal said, adding that the process of identification of the deceased is in progress, but indicators suggest that he is a Pakistani national.
He said the BSF contacted Pakistani Rangers and they are also trying to establish the identity of the slain person at their end.
“We are lodging a strong protest note (with Pakistan) along with full evidence. They (Pakistani Rangers) have also visited the ground (scene). There is no doubt that Pakistan can deny it,” Jamwal said.
He said the heroin was packed in one kg packets tied together in a cloth, suggesting that the smugglers were planning to push the consignment through a pipe and somebody from the Indian side was supposed to receive it.
Asked if any weapon was recovered, Jamwal said no arms were seized during the operation and it is suspected that the associates of the slain smuggler might have taken away the weapons while fleeing back.
Earlier, a BSF spokesperson said the seized heroin was worth about Rs 135 crore in the international market.
“Narco-terrorism angle cannot be ruled out in this case,” he said.