The captain of an Indian Coast Guard ship that had intercepted a Pakistani boat, "Al-Yasir", found with 232 kg of heroin in the high seas in 2015, recently testified before a special court and identified the eight Pakistani nationals whom the coast guard had apprehended.
He also identified the 11 drums that contained 232 packets of the contraband. The drums, being bulky, had been brought to the court premises at a tempo. The witnesses could not be carried to the courtroom, and the witness identified them as the same he had sealed in 2015.
The 56-year-old witness, currently serving as Chief Staff Officer, Aviation Coast Guard, Western Sea Board, was examined by prosecutor Sumesh Panjwani. The officer told the court in his deposition that the coast guard ship Sangram was based in 2015 in Mumbai. The ship sailed on April 16, 2015, from the city to the International Maritime Boundary for patrolling and on April 18 started receiving messages on suspicious activity of infiltration or contraband arriving from neighbouring states. He said on the night of April 28 at 3 am, they detected a small boat on the radar and, finding it suspicious, they followed it in the dark. He said the direction of the boat was towards India and they decided to board it at the first light of the day, an instruction given by him.
The officer said that with the break of daylight, he instructed an assistant commander to board the ship along with the boarding party. On boarding and conducting a search, he said they found suspicious packets in 11 drums. There was no flag or registration number on the boat, he recalled. The boat was later found to be registered with the name "Al Yasir" in Pakistan. While the crew members, all Pakistani, claimed that they were fishermen, he said they got suspicious as there was no fish catch in it.
The officer also identified the eight Pakistani accused as the same people he had apprehended. He also identified sophisticated communication equipment found on the boat.