September 23, 2021 12:38:11 am
Days after the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) arrested seven Iranian nationals for allegedly smuggling a consignment of heroin through Indian waters, a Porbandar court on Wednesday sent the accused to 12 days in police remand.
According to ATS officials, teams of ATS and ICG in a joint operation on September 18, intercepted fishing boat — Jumma — in Indian waters, 185 nautical miles off Porbandar coast and arrested seven Iranian nationals along with 30 kilograms of heroin.
The arrested — Ibrahim Bakhshi, Rahim Bakhshi, Abdul Bakhshi, Ismail Bakhshi, Hamidullah Bakhshi, Khalid Bakhshi and Dur Mohammad — were brought to Porbandar on Monday and produced to court on Wednesday where they were sent to ATS custody.
According to ATS officials, the fishing boat started from Konarak port in Iran with the seven accused and the narcotics was loaded in Pakistan waters.
The ATS is now investigating whether there is a link between the 30 kilograms of heroin found in Porbandar waters and 3,000 kgs of heroin seized at Mundra port in Kutch Bhuj by the Directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) on September 16.
Speaking to The Indian Express, a senior ATS official said, “Till now we have not found any connection between the two consignments. We have found the names of the consigner and the consignee as well as the role of Pakistan.
Further investigation will reveal the originating point of the narcotics.”
According to ATS, the accused in fishing boat were initially instructed to take the consignment to Sri Lanka via Indian waters. However, in the middle of their journey, their handler allegedly asked them to deliver the consignment to either Gujarat or Maharashtra coast.
“We received input that Pakistani and Iranian drug smugglers are trying to smuggle a consignment to Sri Lanka. Fishing boat Jumma started from Konarak port as instructed by two Iranian handlers Imam Bakhshi and Khansahab… when it reached Pakistani waters, the consignment was loaded on to the boat by one Gulam who also handed over a satellite phone to the seven and asked them to be active on channel number 62,” said an official statement from the ATS.
“During their journey, Imam Bakhshi instructed them that the consignment is no longer going to Sri Lanka and asked them to deliver it to either Gujarat or Maharashtra coast. The boat was asked to wait in the Indian waters until further instructions. The consignment was then supposed to go to Punjab by road. The accused told us that in the past they have delivered similar drug consignments to Muscat, Yemen, Tanzania and Zanzibar,” the statement added.
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