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ED to take up money laundering probe in Mundra Port record heroin seizure case

By Rajnish Singh | Updated: Sep 23, 2021 11:39 IST

New Delhi [India], September 23 (ANI): The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is all set to begin a money-laundering investigation into the recent seizure of a record nearly 3,000 kg heroin from two containers at Gujarat's Mundra port.
Official sources told ANI that the case may be registered any time this week or next as the matter was discussed in a meeting chaired by ED Director Sanjay Mishra this week.
The Central agency would initiate its investigation into the case soon after filing a proper Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Meanwhile, sources said that officials of the federal agency are engaged in studying details of the case and proceeding forward under provisions of PMLA.
The agency is learnt to have received the complaint filed by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) while unearthing the narcotic smuggling.
The case pertains to the DRI, an enforcement agency under the Union Finance Ministry like the ED, seizing a total of 2,988.21 kg Afghan heroin from the Mundra port in the Kutch district around September 15.
As per DRI estimate, sources said, the drug consignment is valued at Rs 21,000 crore. They said that the estimated value of the seized heroin per kilogram is about Rs 5-7 crore in the international market.
The drug recovery is stated to be the single largest seizure of heroin in the country so far and also one of the largest consignments ever seized across the globe.
As per sources, the ED would investigate the people linked to the syndicate behind the smuggling of the drug consignment, which is suspected to be imported by a trading company registered in Andhra Pradesh's Vijayawada region as semi-processed talc stones.
The federal agency would also identify proceeds of crime and continue procedures to attach assets of the accused during its probe as per the need.
The initial findings in the case have so far suggested that the seized heroin is of Afghanistan origin and was shipped from Bandar Abbas Port in Iran to the Mundra Port.
Sources informed that a total of 2988.21 kg of heroin -- 1,999.57 kg heroin from one container and 988.64 kg heroin from the second container -- was seized under the provisions of the NDPS (Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act by the DRI.
The DRI subsequently carried out searches in connection with the case at more than four cities that include Gujarat's Ahmedabad, Gandhidham and Mandvi as well as Delhi and Chennai which led to the arrest of two persons.
A few Afghan nationals found to be involved in the entire operation are under scanner, said the sources.
The importer firm, identified by official sources as Aashi Trading Company, is alleged to be run by M Sudhakar and his wife G Durga Purna Vaishali.
The couple has been arrested by the DRI from Chennai a few days back and they were later brought to Bhuj town in Kutch. They were produced before a special court for NDPS cases in Bhuj on Monday that granted 10 days'' custody of the two to the DRI. (ANI)