Richmond man accused of having drug ties says Indian police trying to smear his name

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Pictured here is Dara Mothada, past president of Vancouver and Surrey-based sports club, Azaad Kabaddi B.C. Indian police are alleging he is one of 40 Indo Canadians involved in an international drug smuggling ring in India. Mothada denies the claims and has not been charged. HANDOUT photo

An Indo-Canadian man living in Richmond considers himself the victim of a false smear by Indian police.

Indian police have alleged that at least 40 Indo-Canadians are linked to a notorious drug kingpin who was operating an international network supplying heroin and M-amphetamine to North America and Europe.

According to Indian news site, Hindustan Times (HT), among the 40 names was Dara Mothada, past president of Vancouver and Surrey-based sports club,
Azaad Kabaddi B.C. and promoter of sports and culture in his hometown village in Jalandhar, India — where he returns every year to organize a kabaddi tournament with extravagant prizes and concerts.

The allegations have not been proven.

When reached by phone Wednesday, Mothada strongly denied the claims against him.

“I don’t do that,” an exasperated Mothada told Vancouver Desi. “It’s all bullshit.”

According to Mothada, he was “up all night” calling Indian newspapers and Punjab police demanding why his name was smeared across the papers.

“They’re making up the stories about people,” said Mothada, adding that he’s “never” met the accused kingpin, Jagdish Bhola.

Mothada believes he’s been named because of his wealth, which he said he’s earned from a lifetime of hard work at the mill and driving a limousine, which he’s done in Canada for the past twelve years.

Police, however, have told Indian media they’ll be releasing more information on Mothada and the other Indo Canadians allegedly involved in the drug ring.

Other than Mothada, they provided the Hindustan Times with the names of three other Indo Canadians. Those include a kabaddi player believed to be living in the Lower Mainland region, as well as another individual believed to be living in Brampton, ON, and another in Toronto.

Indian police identified Jagdish Bhola, wrestler turned police officer, as the kingpin of the operation in March and finally arrested him in the Indian capital, Delhi on Monday. According to HT, Bhola’s interrogation is what unveiled the “sophisticated network” of drug smugglers from inside Canadian and European sports clubs, who allegedly carried more than 300-kilograms of synthetic drugs out of India.

According to the Hindustan Times, police are investigating whether the accomplices used players from the clubs to smuggle the contraband.

“Punjab Police have shared the inputs with the Canadian police and we are hopeful of a breakthrough about their hideouts,” Hardial Singh Mann with Punjab police told HT.
Mothada stands by his innocence.

“People talk bullshit too much,” he said. “I go back (to India) every year.”

“Why don’t they (arrest) me?”

Related stories:

lcahute@theprovince.com
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