A special court for Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in Gujarat has directed the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to investigate if the “Mundra Adani Port, its management and its authority has gained any benefits” from import of 2,990 kg of heroin, seized by the DRI on September 16, in two containers that landed at Mundra port from Afghanistan via Iran in the name of Aashi Trading Company of Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, show court orders accessed by The Indian Express.
An email query sent to the Chief Executive Officer of Mundra Adani Port remained unanswered.
The September 26 order passed by Additional District Judge C M Pawar, while hearing the remand application of one of the key accused, Rajkumar P, a Coimbatore resident and the key accused who used WhatsApp to broker the deal between the Indian company and a Iranian exporter, said, “… it is required to be investigated that what is the role of authority and officers of Mundra Adani Port while such consignment/container was sent/imported from foreign nation to India and landed at Mundra Adani Port and how management, authority and officer of Mundra Adani port was completely under dark and oblivious about the fact of import of such consignment at Mundra Adani Port wherein contraband heroin of approximately 2,990 kgs was found and whether Mundra Adani Port, its management and its authority has gained any benefits from import of such consignment of NDPS substances in India.” The court has also asked the DRI to investigate “the modalities and the process for scanning and checking of such container and consignment at foreign nations and at Mundra port when said consignment/container was sent/imported from foreign nation to India and landed at Mundra Adani Port”.
The judge also said the heroin seizure by the DRI has raised “many issues” that should be investigated, including why the consignment was “registered and landed at Mundra Adani Port, Gujarat which is far from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh”, that is surrounded by other ports like the Chennai port.
The DRI Ahmedabad on September 16 seized heroin from two containers at Mundra Port, which were declared as containing talc powder or “semi-processed talc stones”, originating in Afghanistan, and were loaded onto the containers at Iran’s Bandar Abbas port. The talc container, sources said, was imported by Aashi Trading Company, registered in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada, from a firm called Hasan Husain Ltd. So far, the DRI has arrested eight persons, including the proprietors of Aashi Trading in the case.
The court order passed on September 26 said that in the last two years, the sea at Gujarat, especially the sea area of Kachchh district, has become a hub for “importing/smuggling of contraband in huge quantities from foreign countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan” running into crores of rupees.
The court stressed the DRI should investigate all aspects of the case booked by it against Aashi Trading, including the probe into the management and officials of Mundra Adani Port, even if other agencies are investigating the case. This direction was in response to the remark of the public prosecutor that other agencies are investigating the larger aspects of the case.
“In any case it is duty of the investigating agency (DRI) to make proper investigation and find out truth on all the aspects of case,” said the court order.
Earlier, the Adani Group had issued a statement on behalf of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), saying a port operator’s role was “limited to running the port”. “APSEZ is a port operator providing services to shipping lines. We have no policing authority over the containers or the millions of tonnes of cargo that pass through the terminals in Mundra or any of our ports,” it said.
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