NIA gets 10-day custody of 3 accused in Mundra drug haul case

PTI Ahmedabad | Updated on October 19, 2021

Case relates to the seizure of heroin, disguised as consignment of semi-processed talc stones

A special court here on Monday granted the National Investigation Agency (NIA) 10-day remand of three persons initially arrested in a case related to seizure of 2,988 kg of heroin at Gujarat’s Mundra Port last month.

The court of special judge P C Joshi remanded the accused, M Sudhakaran and Durga Vaishali - who allegedly ran Vijayawada-registered M/S Aashi Trading Company that had imported a consignment of ‘talc stones’ (which turned out to be drugs) - and Rajkumar P, to 10-day NIA custody as sought by the central agency.

The accused, also booked under anti-terror act UAPA, were arrested by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) before the case was transferred earlier this month to the NIA.

Case details

The case relates to the seizure of heroin, disguised as consignment of semi-processed talc stones originating from Afghanistan, which had arrived at the Mundra Port from the Bandar Abbas Port in Iran.

The three accused were booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, and the matter was being heard by a special NDPS court at Bhuj in Kutch district.

Soon after the case was handed over to the anti-terror agency by the Union Home Ministry, the probe agency moved an application in the Bhuj court, requesting custody of the three accused and transfer of documents to the NIA special court, which has its jurisdiction in Ahmedabad, special public prosecutor, NIA, Amit Nair said.

The accused have now also been booked the under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

The trio was produced before the court, which granted their custody to the NIA after its submissions, Nair said.

On September 13, the DRI had detained two containers that had arrived at the Mundra Port from Kandahar in Afghanistan via the Bandar Abbas Port. The declaration accompanying the containers claimed they had “semi-processed talc stones”.

However, on September 17 and 19, it was established that the two containers in fact contained heroin which was concealed in “the lower layers” of “jumbo bags” topped with talc stones.

Besides the trio, five more persons have been arrested by the DRI in connection with the single largest heroin haul in India so far.

The value of the seized drug was estimated to be nearly ₹21,000 crore.

Published on October 19, 2021

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