Pakistani national accused in ₹25,000 crore drug seizure from Indian waters seeks bail, says he was framed

Initially valued at ₹12,000 crore, NCB had said that it was the largest seizure of methamphetamine in the country.

ByPTI

Published Jun 03, 2023 | 11:21 AM Updated Jun 03, 2023 | 11:21 AM

NCB methamphetamine seize

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has arrested a Pakistani national in connection with the recent seizure of over 2,500 kilograms of methamphetamine from a vessel in Indian waters, on Friday, 2 June.

The accused moved the court seeking bail claiming he was a refugee and the prosecution had framed him in the case.

The NCB seized the drugs in a joint operation with the Navy.

‘Framed by the prosecution’

The accused, Zubair Derakshshandeh, moved a local court in Kochi saying the “entire story was cooked up by the prosecution” as he is a “refugee”, and that no reasonable case was made out against him.

In the bail application filed through Advocate BA Aloor, the accused said that the contraband was seized from the high seas in the international waterway which is not within Indian territory.

“There is no prima facie case made out against the petitioner and a false and fabricated case is framed against the petitioner… the investigating agency is trying to establish a malicious prosecution against the petitioner, merely on suspicion,” the bail plea said.

The petition also alleged that the prosecution did not specify or reveal the name of the vessel or the registration number of the vessel from which the accused, and contraband were seized. The said vessel was not escorted to the south jetty for further investigation or evidence collection.

Also read: Biggest drug haul of 2023 at Hyderabad airport

Ship’s coordinates not specified

“It is respectfully submitted that the contraband substance, which was seized from high seas in the international waterway which is not within the Indian territory, as the investigating agency failed to reveal the exact coordinates of the ship on which the petitioner and contraband substance was seized,” the plea said.

The bail application also stated that the statement of the accused to the investigating team was “cooked up by the investigating agency” as he was not fluent in any language which was known to the agency, and he was unable to communicate with the investigation officers properly without an interpreter.

NCB to file a fresh affidavit

Earlier, on 22 May, the court had asked the NCB to file a fresh affidavit including the details of the arrest of the accused, among other things.

In the remand report filed by the agency on 16 May, it said that a drug trafficker from Pakistan had offered the accused “good money” after the work was completed.

The agency had on 16 May, said that the actual commercial value of the contraband after its latest evaluation was close to ₹25,000 crore, because of the high purity of the seized methamphetamine.

Biggest seizure 

NCB had said that the contraband was kept in 2,525 plastic boxes and placed in 132 bags.

“The net weight of methamphetamine came out to be 2,525.675 kg,” the agency said.

Initially valued at ₹12,000 crore, NCB had said that it was the largest seizure of methamphetamine in the country.

The officials had earlier said that the product was packed professionally that even if it was aboard a ship for a longer duration, the moisture would not affect the drugs.

The agency claimed that the latest consignment of over 2,500 kg of methamphetamine was meant for India, Sri Lanka and Maldives and was from Afghanistan.

The drug cache was at a “mother ship”, a large vessel that distributes narcotics to various boats during its journey from the Makran coast around Pakistan and Iran, it said.

As many as 132 sacks of suspected methamphetamine, the intercepted boat and some other items salvaged from the ship along with the Pakistani national were brought to Mattancherry wharf and handed over by the Navy to the NCB, it said.

Also read: NCB granted Pakistani national’s custody by Kerala court

(Disclaimer: The headline, subheads, and intro of this report along with the photos may have been reworked by South First. The rest of the content is from a syndicated feed, and has been edited for style.)