NIA raids 5 NCR sites after Rs. 21,000cr drug bust
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) reportedly conducted raids at five locations in the National Capital Region on Tuesday in connection with the Mundra port drug bust. The Mundra port drug haul was the largest ever seizure by Indian agencies, in which 3,000 kilograms of Afghan heroin, worth Rs. 21,000 crore, was seized from two shipping containers. Here are more details.
The NIA suspects that a larger network of Afghan nationals was behind the Mundra port drug consignment, agency officials told Hindustan Times. Among those raided on Tuesday are some individuals who have Afghan links, claimed officials. So far, eight people have been arrested by the Directorate of Revenue and Intelligence (DRI) in connection with the case.
The NIA found that the accused Chennai-based couple—Govindaraju Durga Purna Vaishali and Machavaram Sudhakar—whose talc stones containers were used for smuggling the heroin, were working under the instructions of some persons based in Afghanistan and Iran. Stating that the duo was a minor player in the whole smuggling, officials informed HT that the couple received Rs. 10-12 lakh as commission for the consignment.
The NIA had conducted searches at multiple locations in Chennai, Coimbatore, Vijaywada on Saturday. "Searches were conducted at premises of accused/suspects involved in the import of semi-processed talc stones with contraband. During searches, various incriminating documents, articles, and other items have been seized," it said.
The Home Ministry had transferred the Mundra port drug haul case to the NIA last week to probe the Taliban-Pakistan angle. Besides various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, the NIA also invoked Section 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The sections mentioned deal with funding and conspiracy to commit a terrorist act.
The DRI intercepted the consignment at Mundra port on September 16 after receiving a tip-off. The heroin was smuggled in two containers from Afghanistan and landed at Mundra port via Iran's Bandar Abbas Port. The heroin was reportedly packed and layered between the talc to avoid detection by security and customs officials. The containers had 1,999.58 kg and 988.64 kg of heroin.
After facing backlash over the Mundra port case, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) issued an advisory Monday saying it will not handle "EXIM containerized cargo originating from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan" from November 15. APSEZ is one of the largest port operators in the country and has a presence across 13 ports and terminals. It handles container cargo at Gujarat's Mundra Port.