Alleged Northdale drug kingpin’s assets seized

2012-03-16 00:00

POLICE have attached a house and two cars worth about R1 million belonging to an alleged Northdale drug kingpin.

The operation was carried out yesterday by members of the Hawks, the Asset Forfeiture Unit and the Pietermaritzburg organised crime unit while curious neighbours looked on.

Sathyanand (alias Sunil) Harrichand (47) was arrested last year after members of the Pietermaritzburg organised crime unit had carried out a six-month operation during which undercover officers bought drugs on 12 occasions at Harri­chand’s property.

He was arrested in August last year and is still in custody.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said the property was attached because it was thought to provide a safe and secure environment to sell drugs and liquor.

Police believed the two cars had been bought with drug money because Harri­chand and his common-law wife, Ashika Maharaj, were not doing any legitimate work to earn money, she added.

Jeevan said three bank accounts belonging to Harrichand and Maharaj, who was present during the attachment of the property, had been frozen.

Said an angry Maharaj, who runs a crèche: “You always bring the media when you come to my house and this is ruining my business.”

Maharaj was given seven days in which to write an application giving reasons why the court should not attach the property and cars.

Police said Harrichand would appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on July 23.

He has six previous convictions for possession and/or dealing in drugs, a previous conviction for contravening the Liquor Act and is awaiting trial on two charges of contravening the Liquor Act and Drug Trafficking Act respectively.

Maharaj has a previous conviction for possession and/or dealing in drugs (36 pieces of cocaine).

Court papers filed in support of the application to have Harrichand’s assets attached reveal that Maharaj is the holder of a bank account with Nedbank that received unusual amounts in cash deposits made by either Maharaj or Harri­chand.

Police concluded that these payments “can be deemed to be deposits of the proceeds of drug dealing activity”. The amounts were relatively high compared to those which could be deemed to be the profits obtained from running a crèche.

Maharaj paid cash for the two vehicles, Jeevan said, when at the time she was unemployed and had no legitimate source of income, strengthening the case that the cars were purchased with proceeds of her and Harrichand’s drug dealing.

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