The investigating agency has identified two Afghanistan nationals suspected to be the masterminds behind the seized 3,000 kg of heroin found hidden inside soap stone/talc powder containers at Mundra Port, whose market value is around Rs 21,000 crore.
During the interrogation, one of the four arrested Afghan nationals revealed to the investigating agencies that he was working on the instructions of two Afghan nationals, who are currently in Afghanistan.
And this is the second consignment received by the same company from Afghanistan. The first consignment was imported in June 2021.
So far investigation shows that most of the arrested Afghans were living in Delhi for many years. Many of them were renting places in Delhi like Alipur for storing consignments. The agencies are now looking for these store houses in Delhi NCR, said sources.
Investigation has revealed that some of the arrested Afghan nationals got in touch with the masterminds when the first consignment was imported in India around June 2021.
The agency is also probing connection with another drug racket busted by Punjab Police in Sainik Farm in Delhi in July 2021. The Punjab Police unearthed a heroin-manufacturing unit running in a rented place. Since the first consignment period matches with the Sainik Farm raids, investigative agency is probing whether the same group of people are involved in both the cases.
Two Drug Peddlers From Punjab Involved, Says Agency
One of the four arrested Afghan nationals has identified two drug peddlers from Punjab. He said they were in constant touch with the masterminds in Afghanistan.
So far, the investigating agency has arrested four Afghan nationals, two Indians and have detained one person.
Investigation has further revealed that smuggled heroin was refined in a factory in Noida by the Afghan nationals already arrested by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). During the raid at Noida factory, DRI seized another 20 kg of heroin, which means that the total seizure was now around 3,020 kg. The investigating agency suspects the existence of more such factories in Delhi NCR.
The consignment was sourced from Afghanistan and routed through Iran to enter Mundra Port in Gujarat in India. Due to the involvement of so many Afghan nationals in the smuggling of heroin, security agencies, Intelligence Bureau (IB), National Investigation Agency (NIA), and Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) are also investigating the case fearing ‘larger conspiracy’.
What Made DRI Suspicious About the Consignment Carrying Heroin?
The DRI officials posted at various ports across the country often do profiling of the company whenever a new consignment arrives at the port. The so-called talc powder consignment was in the name of a firm owned by Chennai-based Machavaram Sudhakar and his wife Govindaraju Purna Vaishali.
A DRI official got suspicious about this consignment when he saw that this was the second consignment of the firm within three months. The firm was registered in August 2020 and the first consignment was brought in June 2021.
"Soap stone/talc powder is used in cosmetics. So, the DRI official just got intrigued as to why a new company is importing talc powder so frequently. That’s why he got all the containers opened and checked," said the investigating officer.
The investigating agency has raided multiple places in Delhi, Noida, Chennai, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad, and Vijaywada. Sources in the investigating agencies say that they are likely to arrest many more people in this case in coming days as it appears to be a big nexus of drug peddlers.
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