“Searches were conducted in Chennai, Coimbatore, Vijaywada at premises of accused /suspects involved in import of semi processed talc stones with contraband. During searches, various incriminating documents, articles and other items have been seized,” NIA said in a statement.
The case is related to the seizure of 2,988.21 kg of heroin at the Mundra Port by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on September 16. The case was transferred to NIA on October 6.
The heroin was found in two containers declared as containing “semi-processed talc stones” that landed from Afghanistan via Iran’s Bandar Abbas Port, in the name of Aashi Trading Company of Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.
The NIA said it registered a case wherein besides sections of the Indian Penal Code, and Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, Section 17 (punishment for raising funds for terrorist act) and Section 18 (punishment for conspiracy to commit terror acts) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act were also invoked.
The NIA FIR named Machavaram Sudhakaran, Durga P V Govindaraju and Rajkumar P as accused, among others.
Sudhakaran and Govindaraju, a Chennai-based couple, own the company which was allegedly shipping the contraband. Rajkumar, from Coimbatore, worked in Iran and was allegedly “coordinating with foreign suppliers”.
The DRI has arrested nine people in the case so far, including four Afghans and an Uzbek national, according to a Press Information Bureau release. The Narcotics Control Bureau and the Enforcement Directorate are also probing the case.
Last month, a special court for NDPS in Gujarat directed the DRI to investigate if the “Mundra Adani Port, its management and its authority gained any benefits” from the import of the consignment.