In a major crackdown by the Udupi district police at the Manipal University Hostel, 6 students have been arrested, including a Malaysian physiotherapy intern on charges of possessing and consuming drugs.
Speaking to the Times of India, Sanjeev M Patil, superintendent of police, Udupi, said, "The students were arrested from different apartment blocks in Manipal. They were medically examined and booked under section 21 (b) of NDPS Act."
The arrested students, meanwhile, have been identified as Sathwik Mohanty , 21, Raghav Taneja, 22, Shivank Shekar, 21, Suyash Singh, 20, Madhav Chawhan, 20, and intern Navareeth Kaur, 25. Their parents have been called by the police and have been updated regarding the activities of their children.
Further elaborating on the incident, Patil said, "Drug abuse is rampant in Manipal. There are possibilities that these students doubled as drug peddlers. We will carry out a thorough investigation to end drug abuse in colleges. We have formed teams and the drive will continue till Manipal is free from drug and alcohol abuse."
Refusing to reveal anything else about the seized drugs, he said, "The type of drugs recovered can only be revealed after the medical report is out."
Hyderabad had been in the limelight for the past few months for the most ugliest drug rackets in India, that involved some of the most renowned actors and actresses from the Tollywood, apart from directors and producers in the Telugu film industry. While investigations are still on in the above-mentioned case, the drug menace seems to have spread in Karnataka too.
Inside sources reveal that the main den for supplying drugs in Udupi is Dakshina Kannada district and Kasargod.
The SP said, "The information about rampant drug abuse in colleges was brought to the notice of Udupi police during a phone-in programme on Saturday. Callers have been telling us about drug peddlers, but this time some callers gave us specific inputs which helped us crack the case."
Investigations are likely to continue till the time the source of drug peddling in the area is unravelled. He further added, "We are watching rented flats which are active during weekends. Hostels in Manipal are also under scanner. Hostel wardens will be held responsible if students are caught with drugs. To end this menace, we will also launch an awareness drive in schools and colleges in Manipal."
Meanwhile, GK Prabhu, Director of MIT and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Manipal University said, "We have not received any information on any such arrests in our university campus. Once we get details, they will be suspended and their parents will be called to the campus. We will also conduct an internal probe and based on that report, we will rusticate the students."
However, this is not a solo incident in Karnataka. There have been previous reports of drug peddling in the state. On March 27, 2017, a 24-year-old man Karwar was arrested with 1,388 grams of ganja.
The Khanjar Galli gang
In the month of July, Belagavi police busted a drug racket and eight persons were arrested on charges of illegal transport and sale of narcotics. The gang 'Khanjar Galli' was operating out of public park in Khanjar Galli and they were selling drugs to youngsters.
International drug racket in 2007
An international drug racket with transit points in Mumbai, Belgaum, Bangalore, Goa and Chennai was busted in Karnataka. Three persons of Nepali origin were arrested who were allegedly dealing with Hashish. They were also said to have links in Malaysia.Close to 10.30 Kg of hashish was recovered from them and Nepali currency worth Rs. 1,290 was seized from them.
Similarly in 2013, 3 from Shivamogga were arrested and police seized 2.3 Kg ganja from them.
Top model arrested in a 2014 racket
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had in 2016 arrested a top model- Darshitmita Gowda- in a high profile drug racket. The winner of Miss Queen Karnataka in 2014, the model was allegedly a part of a multi-state racket, which provided drugs to several high profile customers and college students in Bengaluru, Mangaluru and Goa.