Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited, India’s largest multi-port operator, announced on Monday, October 11, that its terminals will not handle cargo arriving from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan starting from November 15. The announcement comes just weeks after the Mudra drug haul case in Gujarat.
In a released statement, the Adani Group said that it will not accept any EXIM (Export-Import) containerized cargo originating from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Moreover, the mandate will apply to all terminals operated by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ), including third-party terminals at any APSEZ port until further notice.
The controversial Mudra drug haul occurred on September 13, 2021, when the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized close to 3,000 kg of heroin at the Mundra Port, run by the Adani group, located in Gujarat’s Kutch district. The consignment was then revealed to have come from Afghanistan, one of the largest illegal opium producers in the world.
The cargo containing Afghan heroin valuing over Rs. 20,000 crores was shipped from the Bandar Abbas Port in Iran and was speculated to be imported by a Vijayawada-based firm named Aashi Trading Company, the DRI said in a statement. It also stated that the seized cargo included 2 containers loaded with 1,999.58 kg and 988.64 kg of heroin respectively.
Adani Group has later clarified their stance after receiving malicious criticism from the media, stating that it was only the port operator and thus did not have the authority to check or police the contents of the shipments arriving at the port. “APSEZ is a port operator providing services to shipping lines. We have no policing authority over the containers or the millions of tonnes of cargo that pass through the terminals in Mundra or any of our ports,” the group said in a statement.