Adani Group has issued a clarification on the seizure of almost 3,000 kg of heroin at Mundra port in District Kutch of Gujarat. The company said that it was only the operator of the port that did not have the authority to check shipments arriving the port.
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), an enforcement agency under the Union Ministry of Finance, had seized a total of 2,988.21 kg Afghan-origin heroin from two containers at the Mundra port around 15 September. The port is run by Adani Ports and SEZ (APSEZ), the ports business under the Gautam Adani-run conglomerate.
The consignment was estimated to be worth Rs 21,000 crore as officials said the international market value of the seized heroin per kilogram was about Rs 5-7 crore. This is stated to be the single largest seizure of heroin in India till now and even one of the biggest across the globe.
“The law empowers the Government of India’s competent authorities such as the Customs and the DRI to open, examine and seize unlawful cargo. No port operator across the country can examine a container. Their role is limited to running the port” Adani Group said in a statement on 21 September.
“We sincerely hope that this statement will put to rest the motivated, malicious and false propaganda being run on social media against the Adani Group. APSEZ is a port operator providing services to shipping lines. We have no policing authority over the containers or the millions of tonnes of cargo that pass through the terminals in Mundra or any of our ports,” it further said.
Following the seizure of the consignment, searches were conducted by the DRI in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Chennai, Gandhidham and Mandvi in Gujarat, following which two persons were arrested.
Involvement of some Afghan nationals is under the scanner of the DRI, the sources said.
The importer firm, identified by official sources as Aashi Trading Company, is alleged to be run by M Sudhakar and his wife G Durga Purna Vaishali.
The couple has been arrested by the DRI from Chennai a few days back and they were later brought to Bhuj town in Kutch. On 20 September, the couple were produced before a special court for NDPS cases in Bhuj that granted 10 days’ custody of the two to the DRI.
Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has reportedly initiated a money laundering probe into the recent seizure of a record nearly 3,000 kg heroin from two containers at the Mundra port in Gujarat, official sources said on 21 September.
The federal agency is studying the details of the case and proceeding forward under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), they said.
The agency has sought the complaint filed by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) while unearthing the smuggling of the narcotic.