One of the eight alleged smugglers, Mohd Ahmed Punjabi Guzar, on board Pakistani boat seized with 232 kilograms of heroin by the Indian Coast Guard holds a health card of United Arab Emirates, indicating he might be residing there, while others were found with Pakistani currency.
The health card has further confirmed the suspicion that the eight could have been carrying the heroin from Dubai for delivery in Thailand.
The fate of the eight ‘smugglers’ is however is hanging in uncertainty as the Porbandar Police refused to register the case in their jurisdiction. The eight men who were arrested on morning of April 21 are in custody of agencies without an officially case registered against them either by Coast Guard or Gujarat Police.
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The men who were under Indian Coast Guard’s custody from April 21 were handed over to special operation group on April 22 for interrogation, however the men were returned to Coast Guard on April 23. They were produced in Porbandar court on Friday to decide the registration of the FIR but the court directed the Coast Guard to approach an appropriate court.
The Coast Guard has contacted its headquarter in Mumbai to decide on the registration of a case under the NDPS Act against the arrested ‘smugglers’ at Yellow Gate police station in Mumbai.
The Coast Guard did the panchnama of the arrested men on April 21 where their records showed their connection with Dubai.
Arrested ‘smugglers’ alleged to have been carrying a consignment from Dubai were interrogated by the Narcotics Control Bureau, Special Operations Group and Customs and Excise.
Superintendent of Police Porbandar G A Pandya told The Indian Express, “They were in custody with us but we handed them over to Coast Guard on April 23 night. The laws under NDPS Act apply in this case but the operation happened in international waters beyond any police jurisdiction.”
G A Pandya added, “They were not taken to the court. They were first time taken to court today (April 24) to decide who will register the FIR and carry out the further procedure. Under the Foreigners Act we have 24 hours to question them before seeking judicial custody.”
The Coast Guard officials remain tight lipped about the second boat which was let go since it had nothing in it.
An official from coastal security in Gujarat Police said, “We cannot say that boat could be empty as claimed by the authorities. The boat could have carried more consignment. There are very little chances that the second boat could be a receiver because when the smuggling network is observed closely, the receipt of the smuggled drugs from Dubai via Arabian sea are done southwards in the Indian Ocean and not close to Gujarat coasts.”