Pakistan seeks information on arrest of boat crew members

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 22, 2015 20:14 IST

Pakistan approached the external affairs ministry on Wednesday to seek details of the seizure of two Pakistani boats and crew members by Indian authorities but the Coast Guard asserted that only one vessel was detained.

Early on Monday, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard apprehended a Pakistani boat with eight suspected smugglers and more than 230 packets of heroin with a street value of Rs 600 crore during an operation in international waters off the Gujarat coast.

A brief statement from the Pakistan High Commission said the external affairs ministry was formally approached “to share details of seizure of two Pakistani boats and apprehension of their crew members…as reported by the Indian media”.

An official of the Pakistani mission said initial reports in the Indian media had stated that two boats – Fiza and Fatima – were seized.

“Nothing has been shared with us officially and we are only going by the media reports. We have also expressed our displeasure at information not being shared with us formally,” said the official who did not want to be identified.

In Ahmedabad, Coast Guard Inspector General Kuldeep Singh Sheoran said only one Pakistani boat and its eight crew members were detained while ferrying narcotics. The other boat spotted with it could be from India and was in the area to receive the illicit consignment, he said.

“They (the second boat) must have been the receiving party from India and not from Pakistan, who must have fled seeing the operation,” he said.

Navy sources told PTI that they had received an input about a second suspicious boat. However, no such boat was found during a search, the sources said.

The arrested Pakistani crew members were handed over to the Porbandar Special Operations Group and samples of the contraband were sent to the Narcotics Control Bureau. Indian security agencies will jointly interrogate the Pakistani nationals.

The latest seizure came more than three months after a Pakistani fishing boat caught fire and sank during a chase by the Coast Guard off the Porbander coast on December 31 last year. The four crew members on board were killed.

Though the government claimed the boat was set on fire by its Pakistani crew, a senior Coast Guard caused considerable embarrassment for authorities when he claimed in February that he had ordered the destruction of the vessel. The official was removed from his position after an inquiry.

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Coast Guard intercepts Pak boat, seizes Rs 600 crore worth of heroin
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