Gujarat Connection: couple 600 Cr drug case, Sentenced to 33 years in London, implicated in Junagadh murders

A couple of Indian origin residing in London has been sentenced to 33 years in prison by a London court for orchestrating a drug smuggling operation worth £57 million (₹600 crores) from England to Australia. This couple is accused of a double murder in Gujarat in 2017. Despite several extradition requests from India, the British court had previously refused to extradite them. Now, they have been proven guilty of cocaine smuggling worth ₹600 crores and money laundering through commercial flights from London to Sydney. Let’s delve into the complete incident of the 2017 double murder case…

Gujarat Native Gopal Adopted by British Couple in 2015

According to media reports, a 59-year-old British Indian woman named Aarti Dhir, born in Nairobi, Kenya, belongs to the Gurudaspur area of Punjab. Her 35-year-old husband, Kavaljit Singh Rayjada, hails from Keshod in Junagadh, Gujarat. Both are Indian citizens and reside in Henley, England. This couple had adopted a child named Gopal in Gujarat in 2015, who was living with his sister and father in the village. They had promised Gopal’s father that they would take Gopal to London. They had also taken a life insurance policy of ₹1 crore in Gopal’s name, and it was the same policy they used to lure Gopal for his kidnapping in London, where they offered ₹5 lakh to two unknown individuals.

Two Men Intercept Gopal’s Abductors, Chaos Ensues

While fulfilling the requirements to fly Gopal to London, Gopal and his uncle Harsukh Bhai Maliya Hatim were staying in the Hatim residence in Keshod. At that time, two unidentified men on a bike tried to stop their car near Keshod and attempted to kidnap Gopal. A scuffle broke out between Harsukh Bhai and the kidnappers. Both Harsukh Bhai and Gopal’s uncle, Hasamukh Bhai, were seriously injured. In the chaos, the kidnappers attempted to snatch the child, leading to a confrontation. Harsukh Bhai bravely fought against the kidnappers to protect Gopal. Following this incident and amid ongoing disputes, both these uncles succumbed to injuries. Based on Harsukh Bhai’s dying declaration, two unknown persons were charged with their murder. Shortly after, both these uncles passed away during treatment. For this crime, Keshod Police had arrested the accused.

Involvement of NRI Couple in the Murder Case Unveiled

During the investigation of the murder case by the Crime Branch, various angles were explored, leading to the apprehension of Nitish Mund, who was associated with the murdered child. The murder case of 12-year-old Gopal and his uncle Harsukh was linked to the involvement of an NRI couple. It was revealed that Kavaljit Rayjada and Aarti Dhir, along with Nitish, conspired to commit the murder of the child. After Nitish’s arrest, the involvement of the NRI couple in the murder case was exposed. The police investigation revealed that Nitish, who used to live with the couple, was offered ₹5 lakh for the child’s murder. After establishing the involvement of the NRI couple in the murder, the Indian government, in 2019, appealed to the UK government to extradite them to face trial in Gujarat. However, if the London court decides to punish them with life imprisonment, they cannot be released early, as mentioned in the request filed by the Indian government.

Drug Concealment in Toolboxes Leads to Arrest via Fingerprints

According to the NCA, Aarti and Kavaljit started a company named WeFly Freight Service in 2015. Although this company was involved in cargo transportation, the sole purpose of the couple was drug smuggling. They concealed drugs in metal toolboxes and transported them via commercial flights to other countries.

In 2021, during a routine police check, drugs were found inside these toolboxes. The boxes were inside plastic bags. Police found fingerprints of Kavaljit on this plastic. Subsequently, Aarti and Kavaljit were arrested from their Henley home. Although the couple managed to escape due to lack of evidence, they were arrested again in February 2023 due to ongoing investigations.

Drug Smuggling in Australia: Crackdown on Illegal Activities

Since 2019, drug smugglers have been targeting Australia, leading to a surge in illegal activities. The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) revealed that a couple had been smuggling drugs into Australia since 2019. Concerns were raised as several boxes were found empty, indicating the magnitude of the operation. The agency uncovered information about 22 empty boxes and 15 boxes filled with cocaine.

Inside Job: Airport Employees Involved in Smuggling

According to the agency, Aarti Dheer and Kavaljeet Singh Rajjada were working for Hithro Flight Services, hence having access to cargo loading processes at the airport. This facilitated successful drug smuggling operations over a long period without being detected.

Money Laundering Allegations Surface

During a raid in 2021, police discovered gold-plated silver biscuits worth INR 5.26 lakhs and approximately INR 77 lakhs in cash at the couple’s residence. Additionally, INR 31.61 crores were found in storage units.

The couple had purchased a flat worth INR 8 crores and a car worth INR 65.33 lakhs. They had also deposited INR 7.79 crores across various banks since 2019. These financial transactions raised suspicions of money laundering against the couple.

Niyati Rao

Niyati Rao is a seasoned writer and avid consumer who specializes in crafting informative and engaging articles and product reviews. With a passion for research and a knack for finding the best deals, Niyati enjoys helping readers make informed decisions about their purchases.