The Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone said on Monday that its terminals will no longer handle export and import of container cargoes from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan from November 15, NDTV reported.
“This advisory will apply to all terminals operated by APSEZ and including third party terminals at any APSEZ port till further notice,” Adani Ports, which is part of the Adani Group conglomerate, said in a statement.
The development comes nearly a month after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and the Customs Department seized drugs worth an estimated Rs 21,000 crore from two containers at Gujarat’s Mundra Port, which is run by Adani Ports.
The agencies had seized nearly three tonnes of heroin at the port, making it one of India’s biggest such hauls till now. The drugs were reportedly from Afghanistan, where the Taliban seized control on August 15 in a lightning offensive.
Adani Ports, in a statement subsequently released to the media, clarified that its role was limited to running the port and that it had no policing authority over the containers that pass through its terminals. It added that no port operator in the country could examine a container.
The company had congratulated the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and Customs officials for the drug seizure.
On September 22, the Union Ministry of Finance said that eight people – four Afghan, one Uzbek and three Indian persons – have been arrested in the case. The three Indians have been identified as Chennai-based entrepreneurs Machavaram Sudhakaran, Durga PV Govindaraju and Rajkumar.
The accused persons have been charged under several sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, along with sections 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
On October 7, the National Investigation Agency took over the inquiry into the drug haul.