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Chennai couple held over Rs 20,000 cr heroin seizure, under DRI net

Investigating the sensational seizure of 3,000 kg heroin worth more than Rs 20,000 crore, said to be the largest seizure in the country, from two containers at Mundra Port in Gujarat on September 15, officials from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) arrested a Chennai based man and his wife.

Chennai couple held over Rs 20,000 cr heroin seizure, under DRI net
Representative image


The arrested couple was identified as Machavaram Sudhakar and his wife Durga Poorna Vaishali, residents of suburban Kolapakkam. The couple had been living in a rented accommodation in Kolapakkam for the past eight years, sources said.

The heroin shipment in two containers, nearly 2,000 kg in one and about 989 kg in another, reportedly originated from Afghanistan declared as talc stones. From there, it was sent to Bandar Abbas port in Iran and then sent to Mundra Port. The DRI received an intelligence input about the shipment, which led to the seizure.

“When our officers detained the consignment and examined it, suspected narcotic drugs were recovered from the containers and the presence of heroin was confirmed,” the agency said in a statement.

During its investigation, officials found that the consignment was imported by a firm named Ashi Traders that had given a Vijayawada address to obtain the Import and Export license (IEC Code) from Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) for export and import purposes. Later, it was found that the company was owned by the couple based in Chennai.

Durga had taken goods and services tax (GST) registration in August 2020 giving the Vijayawada address, sources said. This led to the arrest of Durga and her husband Sudhakar. They were presented before a special court for NDPS cases in Bhuj, Gujarat, which granted 10 days’ custody for DRI. The police in Vijayawada said except using the Vijayawada house address for obtaining the licenses, no other activity has come to notice so far.

The DRI officials conducted raids in Chennai, Ahmedabad and Delhi. Officials believe that Delhi was the intended destination of the drug. Officials suspect some Afghan nationals are also involved in the smuggling and are probing the angle further.

Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has initiated a money laundering probe into the seizure, official sources said on Tuesday. The agency is studying the details of the case and proceeding under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), they said.

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