After Mundra heroin seizure, Adani Ports says won’t handle containers from from Iran, Pakistan or Afghanistan
Ahmedabad, October 11, 2021
More than three weeks after close to 3,000 kilogrammes of heroin were seized from two containers at Mundra port in Gujarat, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zones Limited (APSEZ) today said it would not handle any containerised cargo originating from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan till further notice.
"Please be informed that with effect from 15th November 2021, APSEZ will not handle EXIM containerised cargo originating from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan," an advisory issued by the commpany to its customers said.
"This trade advisory will apply to all terminals operated by APSEZ and including third party terminals at any APSEZ port till further notice," the advisory added.
APSEZ, a part of the Adani Group headed by Gautam Adani, is the largest commercial ports operator in India, accounting for nearly one-fourth of the cargo movement in the country.
It has 13 domestic ports in the states Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. Among them is Mundra Port in Gujarat, the largest commercial port in the country.
On September 16, the Directorate Revenue of Intelligence (DRI) had seized 2,988.22 kilogrammes of heroin from the port. The heroin was concealed in jumbo bags said to contain unprocessed talc powder. The consignment had originated from Afghanistan and had been shipped from the Bandar Abbas Port in Iran to Mundra. It was said to have been imported by a trading company in Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh and declared as semi-processed talc stones.
The decision not to handle containers originating in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan came after the Adani Group came under attack from various quarters, including by political parties and on social media.
On September 21, the company had issued a statement stating that APSEZ is a port operator providing services to shipping lines and had no policing powers.
"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 (MICT), Mundra Port. We thank and congratulate the DRI & Customs teams for seizing the illegal drugs and apprehending the accused.
"The law empowers the Government of India’s competent authorities such as the Customs and the DRI to open, examine and seize unlawful cargo. No port operator across the country can examine a container. Their role is limited to running the port.
"We sincerely hope that this statement will 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 had added.
The Government transferred the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on October 6.