DAYS AFTER the Coast Guard seized 1,500 kg of heroin worth Rs 3,500 crore from a merchant ship off the Porbandar coast, the family of the ship’s captain, Suprit Tiwari, is mulling writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, appealing for mercy. Besides Suprit, his brother Sujit — a BTech final-year student — has also been arrested from Kolkata in connection with the case.
Priti, Suprit’s wife, who had given birth to a girl on July 26, said at her residence in Kolkata: “My daughter is yet to see her father and hear his voice. We thought that once Sujit returns, we would know how to proceed legally. My father-in-law is ill. I have just delivered a baby. We do not know where to go.”
“We will write to the Prime Minister, seeking mercy. I am sure my husband had no clue that he was getting involved in such a big crime,” she added. Preliminary investigations into the case has indicated that the captain and crew diverted the Panama-registered vessel “to get back at their employer who had not paid them” and, in the process, “make quick money” since they were “unhappy with the reward they would have received to ship the consignment to Egypt”. The contraband was seized by the Coast Guard on July 30.
Sources said Suprit, from Chhapra in Bihar and settled in Kolkata, had told interrogators that the heroin was loaded in Pakistani waters off Gwadar and was to be taken to the Egyptian coast. But he and seven crew members, sources added, decided to sail to India instead to sell the contraband. Suprit had reportedly told Sujit that they would receive Rs 50 crore for a shipment. ATS sources said Sujit was flown to Ahmedabad.
Suprit’s neighbour in Kolkata, Raghuvir Prasad Singh, told The Indian Express: “I got a call today (Friday) around 1 pm from Gujarat. They made us speak to Sujit, who didn’t say much. He just said that he too has been arrested and remanded to 15 days in police custody. When I heard Sujit voice, I thought he was being released and was returning home. His family has no one to look after. They are clueless whom to approach.”
“We don’t know where they have been kept. We have no information. Even if someone manages to reach Gujarat, who will tell them whom to approach?” asked a close relative of the family. Suprit and Sujit’s mother Bimala said: “I still believe they haven’t done anything wrong, they must have been brainwashed. I have nurtured them with lot of difficulties… we had lived in a one-room house with a common bathroom. I wish someone could release them by giving them a last warning.” The case has been handed over to the Narcotics Control Bureau for a detailed probe.