Drug bust points to another mystery ship
BACK in July 2015, the Indian Coast Guard was tipped off by the Kerala police about a vessel in the Arabian Sea carrying contraband, possibly drugs, possibly arms. The Coast Guard intercepted Barooki, an Iranian fishing vessel, 100 km west of Alleppey. Its crew of 10 Iranians and a Pakistani said they drifted off course on high seas. The Kerala police searched the vessel high and low, and found a Thuraya communication set and a Pakistani ID car, but no contraband. After months of investigation, the crew were freed by a local court in March 2016 and the vessel was put up for auction, with its 16,000 litres of diesel. It was bought for scrap by a firm from Gujarat and its rusting hulk now lies anchored in Thiruvananthapuram.
Did the Kerala police miss something? That question is irking investigators again after the Coast Guard on July 30 this year intercepted another ship - Panama-registered M V Hennry - off Porbandar and found 1,446 kg of heroin with a street value `3,500 crore concealed in a mind-boggling array of secret compartments: water tanks, pipes and the diesel tank. It was the biggest-ever drug seizure in India. A crew member had told investigators Pakistani loaders worked for four days to stuff 1,526 packets of heroin in special cavities across the boat. He also revealed that such cavities are par for the course for smuggling dhows in the Arabian Sea, and one such ship, Barooki, was indeed intercepted by the Indian authorities.
THE government has taken steps to ensure there is no shortage of rice during Onam.
The state will get 5,000 tonnes of Jaya rice from Andhra Pradesh. A discussion in this regard was held between the officials of Kerala Supplyco and AP mill owners.
The rice is being supplied with the support of AP Civil Supplies Corporation. It is ex- pected to reach here by around August 27.
A discussion between Civil Supplies Minister P Thilothaman and the ministers of Andhra Pradesh was held after talks between Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister K E Krishnamurthy.
The Kerala government had issued an order permitting Supplyco to buy rice from Andhra Pradesh.
Supplyco chairman and managing director A P M Muhammed Haneesh represented Kerala Supplyco.
Apart from the demand that is expected during the festival of Onam, the state had recently shown interest in buying the variety of rice, traditionally a favourite among the malayalis, from the Godavari districts. Kerala had proposed an agreement for a monthly, continuous supply of Jaya rice.