3,000 kg heroin worth Rs 21,000 crore seized at Gujarat’s Mundra port, ED probes money laundering in DRI’s biggest ever catch

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Updated: September 22, 2021 10:21 AM

This is the largest drug consignment caught by the DRI so far and is believed to have been smuggled into India from Afghanistan via Pakistan. 

This is the largest drug consignment caught by the DRI so far and is believed to have been smuggled into India from Afghanistan via Pakistan. 

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on September 15 seized around 3,000 kg of heroin worth approximately Rs 21,000 crore from Gujarat’s Mundra port. This is the largest drug consignment caught by the DRI so far and is believed to have been smuggled into India from Afghanistan via Pakistan.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) initiated a money-laundering probe into the haul, among the biggest across the globe, while the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), which seized the 2,988.21 kg heroin, arrested a couple that runs an import firm from Chennai.

Meanwhile, six persons, including Afghan nationals, held in Delhi with cocaine and heroin in their possession on Tuesday are being probed for possible links to the case, The Indian Express quoted sources as saying.

DRI conducted searches in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Chennai, Gandhidham, and Mandvi in Gujarat, following which two persons were arrested, and that “involvement of Afghan nationals in the drug racket might be possible”.

Officials said the consignment had been officially declared as ‘semi-processed talc stones’ and was meant for Aashi Trading Company run by the Chennai couple, Machavaram Sudhakar and wife Vaishali Govindaraju Durga Purna, and registered in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The heroin was found concealed between stacks of the talc stones.

The Vijayawada police said in a statement that “so far, no activity, except using the Vijayawada house address for obtaining licences (by the wife for import and export), has come to notice. However, further enquiries are being conducted”.

Police Commissioner B Srinivasulu told PTI that their teams “conducted a thorough investigation and except the use of Vijayawada house address (for obtaining licence), so far, no activity has been detected”.

After getting credible information that the consignment is containing drugs from Afghanistan, DRI officers seized two containers and sent samples for examination a few days back. A forensic analysis of the seized substance confirmed the presence of heroin.

The Congress attacked the Centre over the drug haul and asked how such a drug syndicate was operating in India “under the nose” of the government as well as the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera also questioned the government over why the position of a full-time NCB chief has been lying vacant for 18 months now and alleged that the NCB had been reduced to play “retail politics” with BJP’s rivals.

“Why is Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, who are from Gujarat, unable to break this drug syndicate,” Khera said. He alleged that the smuggling of drugs into India has increased substantially over the past few months, and this has been going on for a few years now.

Khera claimed that over the last few years, the Gujarat coast has become the “favourite route” for smuggling narcotic drugs into India from Pakistan, Iran, or Afghanistan. He cited various instances of drug seizures off the Gujarat coast to claim that it had become the “favourite route” for smuggling.

“Are these revelations just the tip of the iceberg? Is this an instance of 10 consignments being let go and one being caught just to show that the agencies are working and to ensure ‘perception management,” he asked.

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