In a major operation, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), on Tuesday intercepted a Pakistani fishing vessel off the Jakhau coast in Gujarat allegedly carrying 200 kilogrammes of heroin.
Coast Guard officials said the consignment was likely to be received by an Indian vessel. They said that they are interrogating the six crew members apprehended from the boat — Al-Medina — and were trying to get more details.
The agency had received intelligence inputs about the shipment on Sunday. On Monday, they received information from the Directorate of Revenue of Intelligence about a possible hand-off of narcotics on the Gujarat coast following which, the ICG diverted their ship Arinjay which was on patrol along with two interceptor boats C-437 and C-408 from Jakhau and Okha,said ICG officials familiar with developments.
The suspect vessel crossed the International Maritime Border Line (IMBL) and was about 8 nautical miles inside Indian waters. It was kept under surveillance and later intercepted at 9.15am on Tuesday,they said.
”The boat tried evasive manoeuvres, however, the Indian Coast Guard ship chased the boat and succeeded in taking control of the situation inside limits of Indian waters,” said an official. On spotting the IGC ships, the suspects reportedly started throwing packets overboard which were later recovered. After taking control over the vessel, ICG officials realised it was a fishing boat was registered in Karachi. Initial testing confirmed that the substance recovered was heroin.
ICG spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan said, “An inquiry to understand the nationality of the crew members is underway.” In March this year, the ICG, along with Ahmedabad Anti Terror Squad (ATS), had intercepted a boat and caught nine Iranians off Gujarat coast with 100 kg of heroin.
In July 2017, the officials had apprehended a merchant vessel carrying approximately 1,500 kg of heroin.
(With inputs from ENS, Ahmedabad)