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Will not handle container cargo from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan: APSEZ

Ports operator Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ) on Monday said that it will not handle Exim containerised cargo originating from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan from November 15.

The decision comes in the backdrop of the approx 2,990 kg of Heroine seized by the DRI at company’s Mundra port on Gujarat coast on September 16 in a containerised cargo imported as talc from Afghanistan via Iran’s Bandar Abbas port.

APSEZ on Monday issued a trade advisory to its customers informing them that “with effect from 15th November, 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.”

A query has been sent to APSEZ in this regard and the responses are awaited.

Notably, in its order dated September 26, the special court of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in Gujarat had expressed the need for the investigating agency Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to investigate that “what is the role of the authority and officers of Mundra Adani Port while such consignment was registered to import and landed at Mundra Adani Port and how management, Authority and officer of Mundra Port was completely under dark and oblivious about the fact of import of such consignment at Mundra Adani Port, wherein contraband Heroin of approx 2990 kg was found.” The court had also asked for an investigation into “whether Mundra Adani Port, its Management and its authority has gained any benefits from import of such consignment of NDPS substance at India.”

On September 16, in a joint operation by Customs and Ahmedabad unit of the DRI had discovered a large quantum of contraband 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 Mundra Port in Kutch.

The consignment was imported by Aashi Trading Company, a company registered in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. So far DRI has made several arrests in the case, which has now been taken over by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) due to the potential wider implications on the National security.

Adani, however, had clarified earlier that no port operator can examine a container, hence their role is limited to running a port, while the law empowers authorities such as Customs and the DRI to open, examine and size the unlawful cargo.

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