Ramakanta Biswas

The Orissa High Court on Friday ordered the 'arrest' of cargo ship MV Debi anchored at Paradip port in Jagatsinghpur district from which cocaine worth Rs 220 crore was seized in November last year. 

A bench of Justice V Narasingh passed the order while hearing an admiralty suit filed by Paradip International Cargo Terminal (PICT). The plaintiff prayed to the court for a decree against the cargo ship to pay a sum of Rs 7.95 crore towards berth and penal berth charges.

The petitioner also sought the arrest of the vessel under Section 5(1) of the Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Act, 2017 (hereinafter referred to as “Act, 2017”). 

Acting on the petition, Justice V Narasingh said, "This Court holds that ex facie the Plaintiff has been able to establish that he has “reasonably arguable best case”. PICT prima facie has been able to fortify its stand that the suit will be rendered infructuous unless the order to arrest the Defendant is passed in exercise of the power of this Court under Section 5(1) of the Act, 2017."

"Accordingly a separate judge order for arrest of Defendant Vessel is passed. Defendant-vessel (M.V Debi) be arrested at Paradip Port," the court said.

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The court gave liberty to the plaintiff to communicate the order along with a letter of the Marshal of the High Court. The Plaintiff is also at liberty to serve the warrant of arrest in the course of the next twenty four hours, the court added. 

Earlier this month, a special NDPS court at Kujang in Jagatsinghpur district had sought a whopping guarantee of Rs 110 crore for the release of the cargo ship MV Debi.

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