The move comes in the backdrop of heroin seizure at the company operated Mundra port

Gujarat-based Adani Group, which operates ports across the country, announced on Monday that it will not handle Exim containerised cargo originating from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan from November 15.

The move assumes significance as it comes in the backdrop of approximately 2,990 kg of heroin seized by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) at the company operated Mundra port on the Gujarat coast on September 16 in a containerised cargo imported as talc from Afghanistan via Iran’s Bandar Abbas port.

On Monday, Adani Port and Logistics that operates the Mundra port Special Economic Zone issued a trade advisory to its customers announcing that “with effect from November 15, 2021, APSEZ will not handle Exim containerised cargo originating from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

“This trade advisory will apply to all terminals operated by APSEZ and including third party terminals at any APSEZ port till further notice.”

On September 16, in a special operation, the DRI seized a large quantum of heroin from two containers, which were declared as containing “semi-processed talc stones”, originating from Afghanistan, and were loaded onto the containers at Iran’s Bandar Abbas port before landing at the Mundra Port in Kutch.

The seizure of 2,990 kg heroin worth almost ₹20,000-21000 crore in international market stunned the government authorities over smuggling of drugs into the country using sea route.

Following the seizure, the DRI arrested several persons including a couple who had apparently imported the cargo mis-declaring it as “semi-processed talc stones.”

The drug consignment seized at the Gujarat Port is said to be one of the largest seizures in the world.

One Aashi Trading Company was identified as the importer firm and is alleged to be run by M. Sudhakar and his wife G. Durga Purna Vaishali, both arrested from Chennai after the consignment was seized and they were brought to Kutch where a local court granted 10 days’ custody of the two to the DRI.

NIA probe

Recently, the Centre handed over the sensitive case to the National Investigation Agency for further probe.

Following the seizure, the Adani group had condemned attempts to drag its name into the drug haul found in a container landed at the port they operate.

“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,” the group had said in a statement.