KARACHI: Police have charge-sheeted seven suspects, including a station house officer of the Defence police station, for helping criminals and kidnapping three Nigerian nationals for ransom in relation to international narcotics smuggling deals.

Anti-Violent Crime Cell detained and booked Haji M. Saleem, Adeeb Shah, Jan Mohammad alias Jani, Ali Nawaz Zehri and Dilbar Malano for allegedly kidnapping three foreigners as ‘security’ against payment for international drug deals.

It also arrested and booked the then SHO of Defence Sub-inspector Mohammad Ali Niazi, the then station investigation officer Inspector Waseem Abro for allegedly handing over the foreigners to the suspects against Rs7 million ransom instead of handing over their custody to the relevant consulate following their recovery from the custody of private persons.

This was disclosed in an investigation filed with the administrative judge of the antiterrorism courts in a case pertaining to kidnapping of three Nigerians in 2020 in Karachi for ransom.

The IO Inspector Shariq Ahmed Siddiqui submitted that a suspect Nusrat, alias Nasrullah Bizenjo, was allegedly involved in smuggling charas, cocaine and other drugs to African countries through sea.

He further mentioned that parties in African countries used to send their agents to Bizenjo to keep them as ‘surety’ until payment for the smuggled contraband was made through hawala and hundi and other illegal means via Gulf states, including the UAE and Qatar.

The charge sheet mentioned that the foreigners would stay with the Pakistani drugs suppliers for three to four months — a period for the payment for the drugs consignments.

It stated that three Nigerians — Oguchi, Armica and Lucky — kept in private custody of Nusrat in a bungalow in DHA’s Phase-7 were recovered on Nov 14, 2020.

In their statements recorded under Section 161 of the criminal procedure code the foreigners had named the private suspects for kidnapping them and demanding ransom from their families for their release.

However, the charge sheet stated that the then SHO of Defence Niazi and SIO Abro instead of handing over their custody to the Nigerian consulate handed them back to the private suspects and received Rs7m from them at a restaurant in the Do Darya area on Nov 18, 2020, it added.

The charge sheet further stated that the private suspects had reportedly released a kidnapped person, Oguchi, upon receiving a huge amount of ransom from his family, but they had still kept two other men in their custody.

The IO maintained that efforts were under way to track down fleeing accomplices of the detained suspects and recover the kidnap victims from their clutches.

He said that in the light of the investigation and evidence collected, charges of kidnapping for ransom, common intention and terrorism were proved against detained suspects Haji M. Saleem, Adeeb Shah, Jan Mohammad alias Jani, Dilbar Malano, Ali Nawaz Zehri, SHO Defence SI Mohammad Ali Niazi and SIO Waseem Abro. Malano is currently on bail.

Therefore, he asked the judge to accept the charge sheet for initiating trial proceedings against them.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2021

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