Rs 600-crore heroin seizure: Arrested Pak boatmen claim no knowledge of cargo
Accused claim they are fishermen and had no knowledge of the narcotics on board; police are examining call records of the seized satellite phones to trace the handlers of this consignment
On April 20, the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard seized a boat with eight Pakistanis on board, which was carrying narcotics worth around Rs 600-crore, in the Arabian Sea off the Gujarat coast.
The eight Pakistani men were presented before the Ballard Pier court yesterday and remanded in police custody till May 5. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
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. The eight arrested Pakistanis have now claimed that they are fishermen, and had no knowledge about the high-value narcotics consignment found on board the vessel.
A senior official from Yellow Gate police station told mid-day, “The eight Pakistanis under investigation said that they are fishermen and had no idea about was inside the 11 drums in which the heroin was found.”
He added, “They are poor fishermen, who were told to deliver the consignment saying that it had some chemicals in it. They were supposed to be told about the location (where they had to drop off the consignment) through a phone. They were given R10,000 in advance and another Rs 10,000 was promised to them once the consignment was delivered.
Alibaksh Alakash Khashkeli was the captain of the boat. The boat did not have any flag, name or number, which is very important for identification. We are investigating whether they were trying to deliver this consignment to India.”
The eight accused are Khashkeli (30), Maksud 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 was registered at the Yellow Gate police station on Sunday under various provisions of the NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act, and the accused were presented before the Ballard Pier court yesterday. All the accused were remanded in police custody till May 5.
A Thuraya satellite phone has been recovered from the boat and police are now trying to find out whom the accused were in contact with. They feel that this could be an international racket and want to know who helped them from India.
Additional Commissioner of Police (South), Krishna Prakash told mid-day, “The case has been registered and the Coast Guard has seized 232 bags that contain roughly 1 kg heroin each. All the accused have been arrested. The NDPS Act will be applied and the Yellow Gate police station will be investigating the matter.”