Free Press Journal

Ship with Rs 1,600 cr heroin sailed from Gujarat coast: Cong


New Delhi: Congress today alleged that heroin worth Rs 1,600 crore seized by Australian maritime force off the Kenya coast last month originated from Gujarat and sought to punch holes in Narendra Modi’s claims of providing strong national security.

Party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi alleged the seizure has exposed the “total laxity” of the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government on the issue of coastal security.

“For Narendra Modi, national security is nothing but a stick for political gain… it is something to whip up jingoism and chest thumping,” he told reporters here, adding the recent incident has shown how “hollow” his claims are.

Singhvi also claimed that the ship was chartered to Jamnagar-based Haza Bhai Kathiriya in October last year, whose two brothers Haji Ajij Kungda and Haji Abdul Karim Kungda are prominent BJP leaders in the state.

“Who is responsible for security lapse in permitting coastal region of Gujarat to be used for narcotics smuggling,” Singhvi sought to know and reminded that its coast was used by terrorists involved in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

“You are allowing this coastline to be brazenly used by smugglers, and certainly terrorists are and will take advantage of this laxity. This is real national security issue on the ground. It is in your backyard.

“You have full assistance from government of India. You have special boats, special equipment. You are not using the manpower properly and not distributing it properly,” Singhvi said cornering Modi on the issue.

Gujarat DGP P C Thakur said on May 2 that a CID probe has been ordered to find out whether the heroin seized near Kenyan coast was shipped from Gujarat or any such consignment was delivered here in the past using sea route.

Singhvi said the boat called Laxmi Narayan was registered in the name of one Ashok Parmer who gave a statement to the Australian police that he had charted it to the Kathiriya family.

“I seek to know whether any inquiry has been conducted by Narendra Modi and the BJP government in Gujarat against these persons to determine if they had any role in the drug cartel. If yes, what action has been taken by Narendra Modi?,” Singhvi said.

Alleging total laxity of the state government in the issue of coastal security, he said the Central government had given 30 boats to the state with night vision cameras but they are hardly used. In this regard, he especially referred to alleged slackness in ensuring security in the Kutch-Jamnagar belt from where the boat originated.

He also alleged that the Centre had provided 30 interceptor boats which would have patrolled for atleat 150 km every month.

“Even in this, there is a shortfall ranging from 78 per cent to 91 per cent,” he said.

Singhvi further sought to lay bare Modi’s claim on security saying there has been “tens and tens of riots” in his state after the 2002, but he was “misleading” the nation.

He also pointed to the attack on the Akshardham temple during the BJP rule to buttress his point.