A Chennai neighbourhood wary after residents’ arrest in Gujarat heroin haul

Residents of Govardhan Giri Apartments are suspicious following the arrest of two of their neighbours in connection to one of the biggest drug hauls in the country.
Mundra Port
Mundra Port
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The residents of Govardhan Giri Apartments in Chennai's Kolapakkam are now wary. These days they are seeing a lot of—media, probe agency officials—after the seizure of 3000 kilos of heroin in Gujarat's Mundra Port late last month. The connection behind a drug haul in Mudra Port and this neighbourhood are Machavaram Sudhakar and Govindaraju Durga Purna Vaisali, a couple who used to live in a rented flat there.

After Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials seized the 3000 kilos of heroin, estimated to be valued at about Rs 21,000 crore, from the port, the reverberations were felt all the way here in Govardhan Giri Apartments. Police arrested the couple after Aashi Trading Company, registered to Vaishali’s name, was discovered to be the intended recipient of the drugs. The drugs had originated in Afghanistan and had made their way to the Gujarat port via Iran. Sudhakar appears to have begun the trading company in August last year. He has reportedly told DRI officials that he had registered the company in Vijawywada to his wife’s name since he did not have successful financial credentials. The GST number of the company is registered to an address in Vijaywada, to a building owned by Vaishali’s mother Govindaraju Taraka.

Vaishali had also taken an import and export license (IEC Code) from the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) for export and import purposes

The arrests came as a huge surprise to the neighbourhood, but the investigative authorities themselves are not surprised. They reportedly told The Indian Express that drug dealers tend to seek out low low profile importers who have valid licences in order to avoid suspicion.

Residents have told the media that to their understanding, Sudhakar and Vaishali, who have two small children, were leading a normal life. The couple were apparently religious and used to conduct prayers in the morning.

The Telugu couple who spoke fluent Tamil were generally reserved and did not have many visitors, one resident said.

As to Sudhakar's job, police said he was employed with a cargo agent while the residents were told that he was working with an industrial firm. Also, according to the Indian Express report, Sudhakar lost his job last year during the COVID-19 pandemic and the company Aashi Trading Company seems to have been started at the same time.

After the DRI got a tip off that the narcotics were declared as semi-processed talc stones, originating from Afghanistan and shipped via Iran's Bandar Abbas to Mundra, it detained two containers for examination under the provisions of Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act.

Subsequently, the couple were arrested and taken to Gujarat for further investigation while their two children were left in the care of a close relative.

With inputs IANS

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