Adani Group-run Adani Ports and Logistics on Monday issued a trade advisory declaring that the company will not handle containerised cargo originating from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan from November 15 till further notice.
The statement has been issued by Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd (APSEZ) CEO Subrat Tripathy. The advisory addressed to the company’s customers says, “Please be informed that with effect from 15th November 2021, APSEZ will not handle EXIM containerised cargo originating from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.” The statement added that “the trade advisory will apply to all terminals operated by APSEZ and including third party terminals at any APSEZ port till further notice.”
Incidentally, the advisory comes nearly a month after the seizure of a whopping 3,000 kg of heroin worth Rs 21,000 crore at the Mundra port operated by the company. The consignment is said to have originated from Kandahar in Afghanistan and landed at Mundra port in Kutch district via Bandar Abbas port in Iran. The contraband was intercepted by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on September 11. It was revealed that a Chennai-based couple, proprietor of Aashi Trading Firm, registered at Vijayawada, had imported it as semi-processed talc stones.
Read | NIA takes over probe into seizure of 2,988 kg heroin at Mundra port in Gujarat
Investigation revealed that the couple, who were identified as Machavaram Sudhakar and his wife Govindaraju Durga Purna Vaisali, had imported the consignment in two 40-feet containers. The bill of entry had declared the country of origin of the goods as Afghanistan. The DRI also got it confirmed through another bill issued by Focus Freight Solutions, which showed the port of loading of the containers as Bandar Abbas in Iran. The importer was identified as M/s Hasan Husain Ltd, Afghanistan. They had declared the value of the goods as $10,235, or roughly over Rs 7.5 crore.
On September 21, the company issued a statement following social media outrage dragging the company in the drug haul as it runs the Mundra port. The company said that the aim behind releasing the statement was to “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.”
The statement “congratulated the DRI & Customs teams for seizing the illegal drugs and apprehending the accused” while adding that “On 16 Sep 2021, a joint operation by the DRI and Customs unearthed a large cache of contraband heroin from two containers from Afghanistan that had arrived at the Mundra International Container Terminal, Mundra Port.”
Also Read | Behind India’s biggest heroin smuggling at Mundra port, a Chennai couple, Afghan national and his Indian pointsman
Meanwhile, on September 26, the special court in Bhuj, where some of the accused were produced for their custody, pulled up the DRI officials and asked them to probe the role of “authority and officers at Mundra Adani port.”
The court had stated, “how management, Authority and officer of Mundra Adani port was completely under dark and oblivious about the fact of import of such consignment at Mundra Adani port wherein contraband of Heroin of Approx. 2,990 kg was found and whether Mundra Adani port, its management and its authority has gained any benefits from imports of such consignment of NDPS substance at India.”
On October 6, the Ministry of Home Affairs transferred the case for further probe to the National Investigation Agency, which has taken over from the DRI.
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