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Gujarat Drug Seizure Issue Dominates Assembly Session

| Updated: September 28, 2021 08:55

The world’s largest drug seizure dominated the Monsoon session of Gujarat Assembly with the ruling BJP and opposition Congress cornering each other on the issue. Brijesh Merja, Minister of State for Labour and Employment posed a question on the “motto of the Gujarat government to not spare any wrongdoer, no matter howsoever influential he/she is.”

Gujarat ATS and Indian Coast Guard recently seized 3,000 kg heroin worth Rs 21, 000 crore from two shipping containers at Mundra port in Kutch. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) also arrested seven Iranian nationals with 30 kg of heroin.

Also read: Uncle Sam’s “War on drugs”? Not quite!

Referring to the incident, Senior Congress leader and Lathi MLA Virji Thummar said that the government was talking about not sparing any influential person, but a huge haul of heroin was recovered from Kutch and the government should act there with its “motto”.

Also read: Mundra mid-sea operation: DRI and NCB seize heroin worth Rs 10 crores

The youngest minister in Bhupendra Patel’s cabinet, Harsh Sanghvi, who recently visited Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and appreciated the work of their team—chose to reply Thummar.

“I want to tell Virji bhai that Gujarat is in safe hands.  I was considering Virji bhai a senior member. I want to inform Virji bhai about the heroin caught by Government of India and Government of Gujarat. I also want to inform that a team of Gujarat ATS carried out a big operation. ATS worked for 72 hours and caught more than seven Iranians along with more than 30 kg heroin.” Sanghvi claimed that instead of congratulating those jawans, Virji bhai is bringing down the morale of Gujarat Police in this House. He added that it is fine if he doesn’t congratulate, but he is criticizing them and it is matter to be ashamed of.

Also read: Gujarat Is New Drug Capital Of India

Senior Congress MLA Amit Chavda further attacked Sanghavi and said that a young person like him was given an opportunity to be the Minister of State in the place of learned and experienced person like Pradeepsinh Jadeja. Sanghvi should have understood the dignity of his post and the decorum of his House.

Also read: Gujarat Drug Haul: Court grants 12-day remand to all accused in 150 cr drug case

Paresh Dhanani, Leader of the Opposition questioned how such a huge consignment of heroin found its way in the state, claiming that for the first time in the history of independent India, drugs worth Rs 21,000 crore had been recovered under the rule of the BJP government.  

Also read: Mundra port drug case update: Court grants 10-day remand to accused couple

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 If Adani is the port operator —as custodian of the container—do they have the right to open the container under the Indian government guidelines?

To this DRI former director-general B V Kumar, whose book DRI and Dons answered as: “They are purely custodians and trustees of the cargo that comes in and they have to maintain records of arrival and departure of cargos with customs authorities. Later, the goods are taken in the warehouse of the port trust. Only customs authority can check the consignment. You cannot hold Adani or Mundra port accountable for any mishap. They get custody of cargo if it is abandoned or for a year or so it is not cleared. In such cases they have the right to open or auction it.”

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Drug mafia using dark web?

Anti-terrorism squad (ATS) and local police have found that drug mafia operating from Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria and South Africa are using virtual numbers through the dark web to communicate and thus avoid

detection. ATS seized 30kg of heroin and arrested seven persons from Iran sent by three drug lords, including two from Iran and one from Pakistan. They had found the criminals using Thuraya and Satellite phones to communicate mid-sea.

Also read: Talibani connection to India’s biggest drug burst in Gujarat

“Drugs lords were using virtual numbers after landing in Gujarat. They wanted to send the heroin to Punjab. After landing in India, their entire communication was supposed to take place using virtual numbers and the dark web. We are not concerned about their use of dark web but of the web of drugs they are laying in the society,” said an ATS officer.

Also read: Gujarat heroin haul points to old Pakistan-Afghanistan woe for India

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