Excise sleuths bust ganja cultivation in Bengaluru

Excise sleuths bust ganja cultivation in Bengaluru

The destroyed ganja plants at a fruit orchard in Banaswadi limits.

Fighting a pitched battle against the burgeoning drug mafia and substance abuse among youngsters, Bengaluru woke up to a rude shock on Wednesday when state excise officials raided a fruit orchard in Banaswadi limits in East Bengaluru and destroyed 16 full grown ganja plants that were due for harvest. Sleuths from the State Excise Vigilance wing said it was one of the biggest hauls in recent times.

Ganja cultivation, until now, was seen as common along the border villages of Kolar and Chintamani from where peddlers used to sneak into IT city with ‘grass’ (soppu).

According to H J Ashok, Deputy Superintendent of Excise, this is for the first time in Bengaluru limits that they have detected such a large quantity of ganja cultivation, suggesting the well-oiled network of drug mafia in Bengaluru.

Giving details of the raid, a senior officer explained, “The plants were cultivated in the middle of rose, mango and guava orchard in Kammasandra village of Bidarahalli limits under Banaswadi zone. From the outset, one could easily mistake it for marigold plants that are common in the area. But each plant was at least 10 to 12 feet in height and we destroyed about 16 such plants at the orchard.”

The officials revealed that the orchard belonged to local farmers M Narayanappa and Venkataramappa, who are absconding.

“At the orchard, our inspectors have also seized a whopping 170 kg of fresh ganja which was harvested probably a day ago. While searching his home, our officials further recovered 4 kg of dried ganja. While the plants have been destroyed, the ganja kept ready for distribution has been seized and cases have been registered under various sections of Excise Act as well as IPC. The market value of the recovery is more than Rs 11 lakh, according to the sleuths.

A senior excise inspector who was part of the raid said, “All the 16 plants were harvested once and ready for the second harvest. With drip irrigation and regular supply of fertilisers, the plants have come up really well. The farmers are not part of any gang, but they were used by the peddlers to cultivate the crop for the steady supply. The 16 plants together weighed about 400 to 500 kg of ganja.”