Two more fishing boats found abandoned off Gujarat coast; owners detained,interrogated

Even as the tragic tale of fishing trawler Kuber and its crew is still fresh in public memory,two more Indian fishing boats have come under the scanner of security agencies in the state.

Written by Vikram Rautela | Ahmedabad | Published:January 22, 2009 1:32 am

Even as the tragic tale of fishing trawler Kuber and its crew is still fresh in public memory,two more Indian fishing boats have come under the scanner of security agencies in the state. These two single-engine boats were found anchored and abandoned in Indian waters about 2.6 nautical miles off the Mundra port on Tuesday afternoon.

“There was no one on board and the boats were detained on suspicion. The boats were shepherded to Mundra port and port security officials later handed them over to

the Customs department. Mundra police were also intimated,” said a Coast Guard officer.

Mundra police tracked the boat owners,Harun Ali Bhatti and Jusab Siddiq Bhatti,residents of village Tundawandh near Mundra,late on Tuesday. The two were being interrogated by various security agencies till late Wednesday.

Sub-Inspector M K Rana,who is in the joint interrogation team,said,“We are looking into all possibilities. Nothing can be ruled out at this stage of investigation.”

Harun and Jusab are learnt to have told investigators that their boats were anchored off the Mundra port in order to save diesel. “The duo have told us that the boats along with their crew members had left the port around 6 am on Tuesday and that the crew returned to Mundra within a couple of hours after spreading their fishing nets in the waters there,” Rana said.

Sources said the agencies were grilling Harun and Jusab to find out how the crew members were ferried back to Mundra and also the reasons for their not leaving behind anyone to guard the two boats.

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