Supreme Court Orders Transfer of Mundra Port Drug Haul Case to Ahmedabad

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Supreme Court Orders Transfer of Mundra Port Drug Haul Case to Ahmedabad

| Updated: April 3, 2024 21:02

The Supreme Court has granted the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) plea to transfer a heroin smuggling case, allegedly linked to the Mundra port drug haul, from a court in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, to a special NIA court in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

The case in question is one of three related to the drug haul. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has filed the first case in Gujarat, while the second is pending before a special court in Saket. The third case, which the NIA sought to transfer, was pending before the court of the additional sessions judge in Hoshiarpur.

The NIA’s request for the transfer was driven by the desire for an effective trial. In September 2021, DRI officials discovered a consignment of 2,988 kg of heroin, hidden in talc powder, at Mundra port. The consignment had been imported from Afghanistan.

Justices C T Ravikumar and Rajesh Bindal, presiding over the case, acknowledged the submissions of Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, who represented the NIA. Raju argued that the central probe agency is investigating the cases, which are interlinked and pertain to the same cause of action.

Raju stated, “The contraband was recovered from Mundra port in Gujarat, and no purpose will be served with two separate trials in the connected cases.” He further added that separate trials in Gujarat and Punjab would cause serious prejudice to the NIA. The Supreme Court rejected the pleas of the accused, who argued against the transfer of one of the cases to Gujarat.

On May 4 last year, the Supreme Court had issued notices to the accused on the NIA’s transfer plea. The Ministry of Home Affairs transferred the probe into the drug haul to the NIA on December 27, 2021.

Previously, the central probe agency had approached a Punjab court to transfer the case to Ahmedabad. However, the court declined the application, stating it lacked the jurisdiction to transfer the case.

In the case registered by Punjab Police, nine people have been named as accused and a trial was set to begin in a special court in Hoshiarpur under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The NIA has listed all the accused arrested in Punjab and Delhi in its charge sheet filed in the Ahmedabad court.

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