Himansu Shekhar Rout

Amid tight security, cocaine worth Rs 220 crore seized from a foreign cargo ship at Paradip port was produced at the court of additional district and sessions judge court (ADJ) at Kujang in Jagatsinghpur on Wednesday, as the court has been designated as the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) court to deal with the case. 

Besides, documents related to cocaine seizure were submitted to the court. The seized contraband has been kept in the court amid tight security. The court collected samples from 22 packets of cocaine and submitted them to the Customs Department which will send the samples to the National Forensic Science Laboratory to ascertain the exact nature and chemical composition of the narcotics substance.

Meanwhile, the Customs Department is reportedly trying to intensify its probe into the circumstances in which the cocaine found its way onto the ship, apart from looking into the people who are involved in it.  

However, a lack of proper communication with the crew members has slowed down the probe, sources said.

Reports said, as many as 21 crew members of MV Debi ship including the captain who are under the scanner of the Customs Department, are being interrogated regarding the cocaine seizure. However, language/communication being a hurdle during the interrogation, the Customs Department is mulling to hire an interpreter.  

Sources added that Vietnam nationals are unable to understand communication in Hindi, English, and Odia. 

Also Read: Rs 220 crore Cocaine seizure at Paradip and possible Odisha link: Customs, IB intensify probe

Five days ago, Customs officials seized the illegal substance, which was hidden in MV Debi ship. The MV Debi was registered in Panama and had never entered India earlier. Customs officials came to know that the ship was earlier anchored at Jebel Ali port in Saudi Arabia on October 11, before it departed for Indonesia port. At Jebel Ali port, some new crew members were reportedly exchanged. The customs officials are also probing their role in the suspected drug smuggling.

  • Reported by:
  • Ramakanta Nayak