Central agencies probing drug racket
Vijayawada firm under scanner after consignment booked in its name
Even as the Andhra Pradesh police maintained that the drug racket which was unearthed a few days ago in Mundra of Gujarat has no links to Andhra Pradesh, the Central agencies, which conducted simultaneous raids at Mundra Port, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Chennai, are inquiring into the activities of the Vijayawada-based Aashi Trading Company.
The Customs and Excise, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) National Investigation Agency (NIA), Central Intelligence, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and other agencies are investigating the drug smuggling racket. The DRI officials seized 2,998.22 kg of heroin being smuggled on the pretext of semi-processed talc stones in two containers at Mundra Port on September 15.
DRI sleuths found that the consignment was booked by Aashi Trading Company, located at Gadiyaramvaari Street of Satyanarayanapuram in Vijayawada. During investigations, it was revealed that aGovindaraju Durgapurna Vaishali, wife of Machavaram Sudhakar, had registered the firm in August 2020. She had obtained Import and Export License Code (IEC) from the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).
Investigation officials, who reportedly picked up the couple from Chennai, are investigating on whether Sudhakar floated any other shell companies in other States, why they migrated to Chennai, their contacts with international exporters and any direct links with smugglers and drug racketeers.
“Owner of Aashi Trading Company is intentionally maintaining low profile, by setting up the office in a small building, without a signboard and only a paper was pasted on the door. Mobile phones of the accused were seized and their activities are being verified,” said a police official under condition of anonymity.
Investigation officers suspect that smugglers were carrying out their operations on the GST and IEC Code of Aashi Trading Company, and were paying commission to its owner. The couple had been staying in Chennai for the last eight years. Sudhakar is a native of Dwarapudi in East Godavari district and his wife is from Vijayawada. They started Aashi Trading Company in a building owned by Vaishali’s mother Govindaraju Taraka.