The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday took over probe into seizure of 2,988 kg narcotic, worth Rs 21,000 crore, at Mundra port in Gujarat.

Disguised as a consignment of ‘semi-processed talc stones’ originating from Afghanistan which had arrived from Bandar Abbas Port, Iran, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized 2,988.21 kg of heroin from two containers at the Mundra port in Kutch district in September. 

Eight people, including five foreign nationals, were arrested in the case.

On September 13, the DRI seized the two containers. On September 17 and 19, it was established that the two containers in fact contained heroin which was concealed in “the lower layers” of “jumbo bags” topped with talc stones, the release said. The drug had to be “painstakingly separated from the talc stones,” it added.

The DRI then arrested M Sudhakar and his wife Durga Vaishali from Chennai  who allegedly ran Vijayawada-registered M/S Aashi Trading Company which had imported the consignment of `talc stones’.

On Monday, a special court for cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act in Bhuj remanded the couple in 10-day custody of the DRI.

The drug haul is considered to be one of the biggest in the world with the value of the seized heroin estimated to be Rs 21,000 crore in the international markets. 

One kg of the drug sells at Rs 5 to 7 crore.

“A total of eight persons including four Afghan nationals, one Uzbek and three Indians have been arrested so far. The arrested Indian nationals include the holder of the Import Export Code (IEC) which was used to import the consignment. He was arrested from Chennai. Investigations are in progress,” the Press Information Bureau (PIB) had said in a statement.

Following the seizure of an astounding quantity of heroin from two containers which had arrived at Mundra Port in Kutch district a few days back, the DRI conducted raids across the country and seized another 16.1 kg of heroin from a godown in Delhi, it said.

It took the total heroin seizure in the case to 3,004 kg, said the release.

The agency also recovered 10.2 kg of suspected cocaine and 11 kg of another substance suspected to be heroin from “a residential place in Noida,” PTI sources  added.