3,000kg drugs worth ₹21,000 crore from Afghanistan seized at Gujarat port
In possibly the biggest ever single seizure of drugs in India, the Directorate of Revenue and Intelligence (DRI) has recovered 3,000kg of Afghan heroin worth approximately ₹21,000 crore in the international market from two containers at Mundra port in Gujarat, people familiar with the development said on Sunday.
The consignment, originating from Afghanistan, now under Taliban rule, was shipped to Gujarat on September 13-14 via Iran’s Bandar Abbas Port and was hidden inside the containers of semi-processed Afghan talc, imported by a firm based in Andhra Pradesh.
A Chennai-based couple has been arrested and several Afghan nationals from the Delhi-National Capital Region have been detained by agencies. They are being intensively interrogated for possible Taliban-ISI link, said an official, requesting anonymity.
The DRI on September 16 and 17 searched the two containers, exported by a Kandahar-based company, on the basis of specific intelligence inputs upon which it found 1,999.58kg of heroin packed in two bags in one container and 988.64 kg heroin in one bag in another container. It was layered between the talc to avoid detection by security and customs officials.
Experts from the Gandhi Nagar Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) examined the substance and found it to be “very high quality” heroin that likely originated in Afghanistan. Officials have estimated the worth of heroin at ₹7 crore per kg in the international market, which makes it the largest seizurein India ever.
Following the recovery, searches have been carried out at several places, including Delhi, Ahmedabad and Gandhidham in Gujarat and a few places in Andhra Pradesh.
Several Afghan nationals have been “picked up” and are being questioned about suspected links with the consignment/its smugglers,the officials cited above said.
Intelligence agencies believe that Pakistan and anti-India elements in the Taliban together are trying to push Afghan heroin into India to shore up finances for terror activities.
There have already been multiple meetings among central agencies to discuss the impact in terms of drugs smuggling, infiltration of foreign terrorists and terror activities in India following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul on August 15.
The Afghanistan government had briefly banned the export of talc in 2015, which are a major source of funding for both Taliban and Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) as they get $10 to $12 per tonne mined talc, used in baby powder, in Nangarhar, Sherzad and Achin areas, said a counterterrorism official who asked not to be named.
Officials said there could be several more arrests in this case as it has larger international ramifications.