Mumbai couple held in Qatar for drugs, Narcotics Control Bureau eyes diplomatic channel

12:52 AM Oct 24, 2020 | Pratik Salunke

Mumbai: The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has raised an issue of a Mumbai couple arrested in Qatar on drug charges last year to diplomatic level after investigation has revealed that the duo may have been tricked into by a drug syndicate by stuffing drugs into their luggage.

According to NCB, Mohammad Shareeq and his wife Oniba Kauser Shakeel Ahmed were apprehended at Hamad International Airport in Doha by drug enforcement agencies while they were going for honeymoon on July 6, 2019. Their luggage contained 4.1 kilograms of hashish. The Supreme Judiciary Council of Qatar had sentenced both to 10 years in jail and a fine of 300 thousand Riyal individually. Oniba delivered a girl while she was serving her sentence in jail. The girl is now a one-year-old.


Post the arrest of the couple, Oniba’s distraught father Shakeel Ahmed Qureshi approached the NCB on September 29, 2019 stating that this is a conspiracy of a drug syndicate who tricked the couple by sponsoring their honeymoon. “Shakeel alleged that her daughter and son-in-law were deceived by a lady namely Tabassum Riyaz Qureshi who is Shareeq’s aunt. Tabassum and his associate Nizam Kara deceived them in the garb of the honeymoon package,” said KPS Malhotra, Deputy Director of NCB. “The contraband was concealed in their luggage bags provided by Tabussum Kara, both residents of Mumbai.”


In order to back his allegation, Shakeel provided relevant documents and a compact disc containing the audio recordings between Shareeq and Tabussum.

“A detailed enquiry was initiated by NCB into the allegations and it was learnt that a well-organized drug trafficking syndicate was being run by Kara involving Tabussum and others. A close surveillance was mounted against these drug syndicate members by NCB,” said Malhotra.

Kara and Tabussum ran out of luck when the Mumbai police arrested them in possession of 13-gram cocaine and a case was registered in December last year. The NCB too had a breakthrough in the case when they intercepted one consignment of the 1.474 kilogram of charas of this syndicate in Chandigarh and arrested four persons namely Ved Ram, Maheshwar, Shahnawaz Gulam Choratwala and Shabbana.

“During investigation of this case, it surfaced that at the behest of Kara and his wife Shaheeda, the consignment was procured by Choratwala and Shabbana. All the financial arrangements for this consignment of drugs were made by Shaheeda on the directions of her husband,” said Malhotra.

On September 7 last month, Nizam Kara was granted bail in the Mumbai case but changed his residence. NCB made efforts to trace him. On October 14, the agency examined the couple under relevant sections of the NDPS Act.

“Nizam Kara admitted that Shareeq and Oniba were sent to Qatar by him and his associate Tabussum. They were handed over the luggage bag purported to be containing tobacco by them but charas was concealed in the luggage,” said Malhotra adding that further communication is being made with concerned authorities to raise the issue at the diplomatic level.

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