New Delhi, Sep 21 | The Congress launched an attack on the government over the seizure of drugs at Mundra port, alleging that it must be the largest illegal drug haul in the world. The Congress questioned the silence of the government and the measures it is taking to deal with it, particularly drugs from Afghanistan.
Addressing a press conference in Delhi on Tuesday Pawan Khera, Congress Spokesperson, said, “The latest raid and seizure of almost 3 tonnes, should be the largest illegal drug haul 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?”
He alleged that the smuggling of drugs into India has increased substantially over the past few months, and this has been going on for a few years now which can destroy the youth of the country.
Khera asked whether the Gujarat coast has become the most preferred route to smuggle drugs and said these revelations are just the tip of the iceberg. He said there has been a pattern of drugs being smuggled into India through the ports of Gujarat. “Why have the Government and NCB failed at taking corrective and proactive measures”, he asked.
The Congress spokesperson questioned, “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? Who are these operators, importers and individuals/syndicate running the procurement and distribution network of drugs in this country?”
He said the position of a full-time Narcotics Control Bureau Chief has been lying vacant for 18 months now. And, the Government thinks it is not significant enough to appoint a full time Chief of the NCB for over 18 months.
“It would lead to the almost three tonnes of heroin worth Rs 21,000 crore in the international market which as per Indian Government estimates is worth Rs 9000 crore reaching the Mundra Port – a privately owned port of the Adani Group in Gujarat,” said Khera.
He said that over the last few years, the Gujarat coast has become the favourite route for smuggling drugs into India from Pakistan, Iran or Afghanistan.
“Let us understand the chronology of events from the recent past. In July 2017 an Indian Coast Guard vessel had seized approximately 1,500 kgs of heroin valued at about Rs 3,500 crore from a merchant vessel off the coast of Gujarat. In January 2020, five Pakistani nationals on a fishing boat were apprehended mid-sea off the coast of Gujarat while they were attempting to smuggle drugs worth Rs 175 crore into the state and country.”
“In April 2021, eight Pakistani nationals onboard a boat were apprehended with heroin worth Rs 150 crore off the coast of Gujarat. On September 17, 2021, three tonnes of heroin was seized by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) during an operation where two containers were seized at the Mundra Port, a privately owned port by the Adani Group in Bhuj in Gujarat. The value of the heroin is estimated to be around Rs 21,000 crore.”
On September 18, 2021, the Coast Guard and the Anti-Terrorist Squad of the Gujarat Police in a joint operation against an Iranian boat found 30 kg heroin worth more than Rs 150 crore off the coast of Gujarat, Khera said.
It is suspected that this heroin was originally sourced from Afghanistan and was smuggled through Iran’s Bandar Abbas Port, Khera said.