NIA takes over 21,000 crore Mundra drugs haul case as narco-terror link emerges

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) decided to transfer the probe to NIA as there is a clear terror link in the smuggling, which agencies are probing from the Taliban-Pakistan angle, according to an official, who requested anonymity.
The consignment was intercepted by the Directorate of Revenue and Intelligence on September 14 and 15 on the basis of specific intelligence that high quality heroin was being smuggled from Afghanistan to Gujarat’s Mundra port via Iran’s Bandar Abbas port. (REUTERS PHOTO.)
The consignment was intercepted by the Directorate of Revenue and Intelligence on September 14 and 15 on the basis of specific intelligence that high quality heroin was being smuggled from Afghanistan to Gujarat’s Mundra port via Iran’s Bandar Abbas port. (REUTERS PHOTO.)
Published on Oct 06, 2021 09:09 PM IST
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ByNeeraj Chauhan

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday took over probe into the recovery of around 3,000 kg Afghan heroin worth 21,000 crore in the international market with clear international narco-terrorism linkages emerging in the seizure, people familiar with the matter said.

The consignment was intercepted by the Directorate of Revenue and Intelligence (DRI) on September 14 and 15 on the basis of specific intelligence that high quality heroin was being smuggled from Afghanistan to Gujarat’s Mundra port via Iran’s Bandar Abbas port. It is being described as the single-largest heroin haul by federal agencies in the country.

The two containers had 1,999.58 kg and 988.64 kg heroin packed respectively, layered between talcum powder to avoid detection by security and customs officials.

HT exclusively reported the seizure on September 20.

At least eight persons, including a Chennai couple - Govindaraju Durga Purna Vaishali and her husband Machavaram Sudhakar, who imported the heroin concealed in the semi-processed talc stones through their Vijaywada registered firm – Aashi Trading Company - from a Kandahar based company; four Afghan nationals, an Uzbek woman and others have been arrested by the DRI so far.

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) decided to transfer the probe to NIA as there is a clear terror link in the smuggling, which agencies are probing from the Taliban-Pakistan angle, according to an official, who requested anonymity.

Vaishali and Sudhakar are said to be small players and got only 10 lakh to 12 lakh commission for allowing the traffickers to use their talc stones containers for smuggling heroin. A larger network of Afghan nationals is suspected to be behind the consignment, said this officer.

Investigation has revealed that Vaishali and Sudhakar were taking instructions from some persons based in Afghanistan and Iran. “Their role in smuggling drugs previously in the garb of imports is being investigated,” said a second officer.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022