New Delhi: Indian Coast Guard has once again been successful in averting a major drug transshipment via sea route in the Lakshadweep Sea. Indian Coast Guard ships and aircraft while on patrol off the Lakshadweep islands observed suspicious movements of three Sri Lankan fishing boats. The boats were continuously monitored by the CG units and were subsequently intercepted and checked at the opportune moment.
Initial investigation revealed that Sri Lankan Fishing Boat (SLFB) Akarsha Duwa was at sea for longer duration of over a fortnight. Inconsistent information received and abnormal behaviour of crew further raised the suspicion level. As the crew were giving misleading statements, they were interrogated tactfully upon which the crew admitted having been involved in smuggling of narcotics/contraband. While en-route, the crew noticed presence of Indian Coast Guard ships and aircraft in the area. With the fear of getting apprehended, the crew decided to flee the area.
However, on realising that fleeing from ICG ships was impossible, they dropped five bags of contraband weighing around 260 kg of narcotics in water. The value of these narcotics in international market is approximately Rs. 2100 Cr. In a similar operation in Nov 2020, Indian Coast Guard had apprehended Sri Lankan fishing boat ‘Shenaya Duwa’ off Kanyakumari, carrying narcotics worth value approximately Rs. 1000 Cr in the International market.
Due to rough sea conditions off Minicoy Islands, the boats were brought to Vizhinjam near Thiruvananthapuram on 7 March for further interrogation by the concerned security agencies. Post rummaging and joint investigation at Vizhinjam, SLFB Akarsha Duwa alongwith 06 Sri Lankan crew was detained for final investigation. Two other Sri Lankan boats with crew were released for handing over to Sri Lankan authorities for further investigation due to considerable quantity of fish stock onboard.