In a relief to the National Investigation Agency, the Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed its plea and ordered that a heroin smuggling case allegedly linked to the sensational Mundra port drug haul be transferred from a court in Hoshiarpur to a special NIA court in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad.

Supreme Court (PTI)

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has filed a case in Gujarat and the second case is pending before a special court in Saket here.

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The third case is pending before the court of the additional sessions judge in Hoshiarpur.

The NIA wanted the Punjab case to be transferred to Ahmedabad for an effective trial.

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In September 2021, DRI officials had found 2,988 kg heroin in a talc powder consignment at Mundra port. The consignment was imported from Afghanistan.

A bench comprising justices C T Ravikumar and Rajesh Bindal took note of the submissions of Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the NIA, that the central probe agency is seized of the investigation in the cases which are interlinked and related to one cause of action.

“The contraband was recovered from Mundra port in Gujarat and no purpose will be served with two separate trials in the connected cases,” the law officer said.

He said, “The separate trials in Gujarat and Punjab will cause serious prejudice to the NIA.” The top court rejected the pleas of the accused that the trial in one of the cases should not be transferred to Gujarat.

On May 4 last year, the Supreme Court had issued notices to the accused on the transfer plea of the NIA.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had transferred the probe into the drugs haul to the NIA on December 27, 2021.

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Earlier, the central probe agency had approached a Punjab court seeking transfer of the case to Ahmedabad, but the court had refused to entertain the application saying it did not have the jurisdiction to transfer the case.

In the case registered by Punjab Police, nine people have been named as accused and a trial was to be initiated in a special court in Hoshiarpur under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

The NIA has listed all the accused arrested in Punjab and Delhi in its charge sheet filed in the Ahmedabad court.


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