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Gujarat Is New Drug Capital Of India

| Updated: September 22, 2021 17:36

Drugs are becoming a scourge in Gujarat. The State coastline has become the favourite route for smuggling narcotic drugs into India from Pakistan, Iran or Afghanistan. In the eighties and nineties, the sea routes close to Okha, Salaya, Tuna and Mandvi were used to smuggle gold, electronic goods and even explosives. The Gujarat ATS has intercepted and seized contraband from these same routes. Increased deterrence on Punjab border and cancellation of LoC trade with Pakistan has led to an increase in narcotics smuggling using the Gujarat coastline.

70,000 crore worth of drugs seized from Mundra port

The three tonnes of heroin seized from the Mundra port appears to be just the tip of the iceberg, as it has now come to light that drug smugglers have already imported 25tonnes of heroin and are distributing it in the country. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) estimates that the value of heroin seized on Sunday was Rs 9,000 crore. However, the value of the drug smuggled into the country earlier could be more than Rs 70,000 crore.

The probe has zeroed in on a company in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, called Aashi Trading Company, according to published reports.

As per the documentary evidence, the company had reportedly imported 25 tonnes of goods in June this year, which was taken as a “semi-cut talcum powder block” on record. The goods seized by the DRI and that seized from this old import were then sent to a person in New Delhi.

This poses a serious question on whether Gujarat has any linkage of drug smuggling with a trading company that operates from a small house in Satyanarayanapuram.

Noteworthy points about Aashi Trading Company: It has branches in Kakinada and Chennai. It obtained a GST license in August 2020 for export business. The key point about neighbours not knowing about the company points further the suspicion of Gujarat being a transit point for drug smuggling and gravitates towards the question – if Vijaywada is getting drugs originated from Afghanistan via the Gujarat coast.

Afghanistan is the biggest producer of heroin in the world. It supplies around 80-90 per cent of total global output. In recent years, the production of heroin has boomed in the country, helping fund the Taliban, who took over the power of the country in August. Experts from Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) in Gandhinagar examined the substance and found it to be very high-quality heroin that likely originated in Afghanistan.

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And the documentary evidence is shocking. As per the documentary evidence, the lorry did not pass through any toll gate on the 1,176-km route between the port and New Delhi. Therefore, it can be assumed that “either this material is in Gujarat or has been smuggled to other places.” 

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The address of the Delhi trader is mostly fake as Kuldeep Singh is not a registered dealer. The company was registered last year in the name of exporting rice through Kakinada port in Vijayawada.

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The official signatory of the Aashi Trading Company, Machavarapu Sudhakar was a resident of Chennai and had set up a proprietary firm in the name of his wife Vaishali and obtained a license. Significantly, the Central GST authorities through which Sudhakar obtained the Goods and Services Tax Identification Number (GSTIN) mapped a business entity in the Sitarampuram division of Vijayawada. The residential address given in Satyanarayanapuram comes under Benz Circle section.

It is also worth noting that 1,300 kg of hash has been impounded from Gujarat in just four months of 2020.

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NIA takes over the investigation of drug trafficking racket 

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is expected to take over the investigation of the 2,988.22 kg drug trafficking racket that was busted at Mundra Port on the intervening night of September 15. The value of the heroin consignment originating from Afghanistan is currently valued at over Rs 15,000 crore. The contraband was mixed with talcum powder.

Notably, the consignment had reached India from Bandar Abbas Port in Iran. However, the drug consignment had been transported to the port from Afghanistan, which is currently under the control of the Taliban. The NIA will be supposedly probing the terror angle to this massive drug trafficking case.

Adani Group gives statement on drug seizure 

Adani Group that owns Mundra Port released a statement regarding the seizure of heroin at Mundra International Container Terminal (MICT) on September 16. They gave a statement that read, “We sincerely hope that this statement will put to rest the motivated, malicious and false propaganda being run on social media against the Adani Group. 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.”​​ They also congratulated the DRI and Customs for unearthing the contraband. 

Surat youth caught with marijuana 

A Surat resident was caught with marijuana during a police check on the Palanpur-Ahmedabad highway. Police arrested the youth with 14.310 kilograms of marijuana and a total of Rs 151,050 in cash.

Palanpur city west police were on patrol early this morning when they found the youth suspicious while he was descending the railway overbridge on Ahmedabad Highway in Palanpur. Police were also shocked to find marijuana in a fragrant pan-masala bag he was carrying. Police say the youth Vikesh Trivedi is a native of Rajasthan and is currently staying in Shivanjali apartment in Surat.

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A quantity of 14,310 kilograms of cannabis worth Rs 1,43,100 and a mobile phone are captured. A total of Rs 1,51,050 worth of assets are seized.  Police have registered a case under the NDPS Act against a person caught with marijuana and are conducting further investigations.

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People of Indian origin hired to smuggle drugs?

Certain South African drug cartel has become active in India and they use people of Indian origin who use their Indian surnames to smuggle drugs into the country, as agencies would be less likely to see them as suspects; said officials from Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), which is investigating a case of cocaine smuggling by South African national.

Earlier people of African origin were used to smuggle the drugs but now, its Indians who are used in the drug cartel.  “As the African cartel got more notorious, their modus operandi became known and the security agencies and cops would keep a close watch on them and nab them on their arrival. After that, they started hiring people of Indian origin to smuggle the drugs as they would be less likely to be seen as suspects,” NSB official.

Drug smuggling for  FIFA World Cup? 

Among other reasons, the Gujarat anti-terrorism squad (ATS) has found increased demand for drugs expected from some football fans at the upcoming FIFA World Cup in 2022 at Doha, Qatar, to be spurring drug smuggling through Gujarat’s coastal waters. ATS is of the view that they are trying to use India as a transit route to West Asia that will be hosting the FIFA event for the first time. 

“Smugglers have been trying to stock contraband in advance, fearing increase in surveillance and heightened security closer to the football event in 2022.” said Gujarat ATS sources. Gujarat ATS officials, in their investigation, also cite a recent UN report of 61% surplus production of opium in Afghanistan that may have led to increased contraband smuggling in Gujarat.

Congress targets Centre over Heroin seizure from Gujarat

Almost three tonnes of heroin were captured from Gujarat’s Mundra port, which made this amongst one of the biggest drug seizure raids. Congress party has raised many questions regarding this surge to the central government. They have been asked the center to explain that why the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) was oblivious regarding this situation for since last 18 months.

AICC spokesperson Pawan Khera said, “The smuggling of drugs in critical organisations such as Nar- dia has increased substantially over the past few months… This not only can destroy the present and future of the youth of India, but it is the potential funding route for the funding of terrorist organisations globally. The latest raid from Mundra Port in Gujarat, owned by the Adani Group, is among the largest illegal drug hauls in the world. not just India. But how did it come to this? What has the government and Narcotics Control Bureau been doing all this while.” 

This seizure was also linked to terrorist funding of organisations from Afghanistan, the party wants the government to check its strategy seriously regarding this matter.  Pawan Khera also connected this incident with a major drug seizure that took place in 2017 and questioned that why has Gujarat become one of the most preferred routes for drug smuggling and why is the NCB not doing anything about it  “How is such a drug syndicate operating in India under the nose of the Government of India, Government of Gujarat and the Narcotics Control Bureau? Why has it not been exposed yet?” Khera asked.


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  1. Mini

    What are the interlinked between control/acquisition of airports and ports by one private corporate entity mean to the evolution of illegal drug trade in the forseeable future? Both airports and ports are integral to trafficking. Not just drugs many other crimes .

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