Court slams police, wants to know why the seized boat and satellite phones were still in the custody of the Customs department, as the vessel and call records have to be examined by the police
The eight Pakistani nationals who were arrested by the Coast Guard in the R600-crore heroin seizure off the Porbandar coast on April 21 were remanded to police custody till May 8 by a special NDPS court on Tuesday.
The eight Pakistani nationals being produced before a Mumbai court. File pic
However, during the hearing, Judge G A Sanap came down strongly on the investigating officer when he was told that the seized boat and satellite phones were still in the custody of the Customs. The judge asked, “How can you investigate without the boat and phones? How will you cross-check the call details?” Judge Sanap also termed the investigation as faulty.
The police sought extension of custody of the accused, saying that they want to trace the intended recipient of the consignment, and explore the role of the three people named by the accused during the investigation. The police have not revealed these names yet. Meanwhile, the court appointed Advocate Farhana Shah as counsel for the accused.
A senior official from Yellow Gate police station told mid-day, “The drug consignment which the eight Pakistanis were carrying, was supposed to be delivered to Dubai and it has no link to India. The accused were told that a boat would come to them when they approach Dubai and they would have to drop off the consignment. We are trying to know who the alleged recipient was.”
He added, “The phones which were seized from them are currently with the Customs department. After they give them to us we will get the call records of the same.” On April 20, the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard seized a boat with eight Pakistanis on board, which was carrying narcotics worth around R600 crore, in the Arabian Sea, off the Gujarat coast.
Though the boat was seized in the Arabian Sea, this maritime arrest comes under the jurisdiction of Yellow Gate police station, and the case was registered there. Earlier the eight arrested Pakistanis claimed that they are fishermen, and had no knowledge about the high-value narcotics consignment found on board the vessel.
They were to be told about the location (where they had to drop off the consignment), through the phones. They were given Rs 10,000 in advance and another R10,000 was promised to them once the consignment of 232 kg of heroin was delivered.
The eight accused are Khashkeli (30), Maksood Akhar Yusuf Masim (39), Mohammad Baksh Natho (38), Mohammad Ahmad Mohammad Inayat (38), Mohammad Yunus Haji Mohammad Sumar (35) Mohammad Yusuf Abdula Gangavani (45), Mohammad Gulhasan Molabaksh Baluch (30) and Gulhasan Mohammad Siddhiq (40).A case has been registered at the Yellow Gate police station under various provisions of the NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act.