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Pak boat carrying heroin worth Rs 400 crore caught

NEW DELHI, 20 DEC. A Pakistani fishing boat with six crew members and carrying 77 kg of heroin worth around Rs 400 crore was caught in the Indian waters off the Gujarat coast, officials said on Monday.

India Today has accessed the identity proofs of the six 'fishermen', in which it is revealed that Karachi drug lord Haji Hassan's son Sajid (highlighted) was himself on the boat.

In another startling revelation, top agency sources told India Today that this drugs consignment was going to be delivered in Punjab, where Assembly election is due in a few months.

According to sources, the name of a big gangster in Punjab, who is currently lodged in the jail of Rajasthan, has come to the fore.

According to the investigative agencies, the opium cultivators and drug mafia in Afghanistan are afraid of the Taliban government, fearing that they would soon take over the opium trade in the country. As a consequence, drug smuggling along the Indian border has increased significantly in the last few months as the drug mafia want to sell off their produce soon. The Gujarat route is mostly used for drug smuggling. The drug seizure was made after Sunday midnight in a joint operation by the Indian Coast Guard and the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), around 35 nautical miles off the Jakhau coast in Kutch district of Gujarat, they said.

"They caught the Pakistani fishing boat 'Al Huseini' with six crew members on board in the Indian waters and seized "77 kg of heroin worth approximately Rs 400 crore," Gujarat's defence PRO said in a tweet in the morning.

The Gujarat ATS in a release said the Pakistani boat had left the Karachi port and was trying to establish contact using very high frequency (VHF) radio channel and code words, 'Hari-1' and 'Hari-2', for the delivery of the drugs.

The ATS said it has conducted various operations and seized around 920 kg of drugs between August 2018 and December 2021, estimated to to be priced at around Rs 4,600 crore in the international markets.

The ATS has arrested some Pakistani, Iranian and Afghan nationals as well as Indians helping them smuggle the drugs using the Gujarat coast, it said. According to the Coast Guard, the latest drug haul is its second joint operation with the Gujarat ATS within three months.

In September this year, they had seized 30 kg of heroin worth Rs 150 crore transported by an Iranian fishing boat at the Arabian Sea of the Gujarat coast. Prior to it, in April this year, the Coast Guard and the ATS had carried out a similar operation and apprehended a boat with eight Pakistani nationals and carrying 30 kg of heroin worth about Rs 150 crore, from the Indian waters near the Jakhau coast in Kutch, officials said.

Last month, the ATS had seized a heroin drug consignment worth about Rs 600 crore from an under-construction house in Gujarat's Morbi district. The ATS had said the consignment was sent by Pakistani drug dealers to their Indian counterparts via the Arabian Sea.

In September this year, in the single largest heroin haul in India, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had seized around 3,000 kg of the drug, believed to be from Afghanistan and likely worth Rs21,000 crore in the global market, from two containers at the Mundra port in Kutch, officials earlier said.

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