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Nov 09: A master’s degree chemist who calls himself a ‘doctor’ and a college dropout who calls himself ‘a’self-learned synthesis expert’—also known as a scientist—who claims to be the mastermind behind the synthesis of the highly addictive narcotic drug’mephedrone’ using 10 common chemicals is at the core of the Pune police investigation into the drug manufacturing syndicate headed by the notorious drug kingpin, ‘Lalit Patil’, who was under house arrest in the central prison and Sassoon hospital.

Pune City Police are currently investigating the large-scale production and trafficking of mephedrone under the aegis of drug mafia Lalit Patil (34). The investigation in this case started on September 30, when the anti-narcotics cell of the Pune City Police seized Rs. 2.14 crore of mephedrone from a place near Sassoon General Hospital.

So far, as many as 14 accused have been named by the Pune Police in this case. On November 1, the Pune Police invoked the MCOCA for this case. 

On Tuesday, Patil was remanded to Pune Police custody, and two other key accused in this case were also remanded to Pune Police custody on November 13.

On Tuesday, Sunil Tambe, the investigating officer of the case, told the court that they are looking into whether the syndicate has any connections with any other narcotics syndicate operating in India or abroad. According to the prosecution, Assistant Commissioner Fargade said that the investigation will also look into how the mephedrone production unit was established in Shindegaon Village in Nashik after Arvindkumar Lalohare provided Lalit Patil with the details of how to synthesise mephedrone when both of them were remanded to Yerawada central prison in judicial custody after being arrested in 2020 by police in a case involving the seizure of 20 kg of mephedrone in Pimpri-Chinchwad.

Lohare has a Masters Degree in Chemistry and has a history of working in the chemical industry. His associates refer to him as ‘Doctor’. Lohare is being probed by police in Mumbai and Pune, as well as in Nashik and other central agencies, for his role in being the chemistry mastermind for various narcotics cartels.

In 2019, Lohare established a production unit in Mahad, Raigad, and later moved it to Pune’s Ranjangaon. Both premises were subject to a raid by police in 2020. It is suspected that around 200 kg of mephedrone was produced at these facilities prior to the raids. A senior police officer involved in the investigation said

In October, Mumbai police conducted a raid at the factory in Nashik, where they seized over 150 kg of Rs 300 crore worth of mephedrone and a large quantity of raw materials used in the synthesis. During the custodial remand hearing for the trio, the prosecutor listed 10 chemicals that the syndicate used to synthesise mephedrone, including acetone, toluene, hydrochloric acid, caustic soda, and soda ash, which are commonly used in the chemical industry. Aluminium chloride, bromine, propionyl chloride, monoethanolamine, and chloroform are also available under regulation.

Lalit Patil escaped on October 2, the night before his scheduled hernia surgery at Sassoon General Hospital. Mumbai police arrested him on October 17.

A police investigation has revealed that Patil has been in prison since December 2020, when he was arrested in Pimpri Chinchwad, and had spent 16 months in Sassoon General Hospital Ward. 

He had claimed various medical reasons for his stay. An officer said that Patil was in charge of the mephedron manufacturing syndicate while he was in prison and that it was run by him, Lohare, and others.