Social media calls out soft coverage of massive drug seizure at Adani port at Mundra

Adani Group has issued clarification that it is “only the port operator” and therefore lacks the “authority to check shipments”


The Adani Group has issued its official clarification on the massive seizure of nearly 3,000 kilograms of heroin at a port in Mundra, in Gujarat’s Kutch district, where it is the “port operator”. The company made the statement public on its social media handles and explained that it is “only the port operator” and therefore lacks the “authority to check shipments arriving at the port.”

The port is run by Adani Ports and SEZ (APSEZ), which is under the Gautam Adani-run conglomerate, stated Livemint in its follow up report of the seizure by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), which is the enforcement agency under the Union Finance Ministry. 

The consignment seized from two containers at the Mundra port around September 15 was reported to weigh in at “a total of 2,988.21 kg Afghan heroin”. It is estimated to be worth  ₹21,000 crore according to the news reports the international market value of the seized heroin per kilogram was about ₹5-7 crore. This makes it “the single largest seizure of heroin in India till now” and as reported so far perhaps is also one of the biggest drug busts across the globe.

However, the media coverage around this rather explosive story has been rather muted. It is over a week later that the Adani Group issued its statement on Tuesday September 21, where it emphasised, “The law empowers the Government of India’s competent authorities such as the Customs and the DRI to open, examine and seize unlawful cargo. No port operator across the country can examine a container,” and that they were only “running the port” adding, “We sincerely hope that this statement will put to rest the motivated, malicious and false propaganda being run on social media against the Adani Group. 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.” 



Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani, also shared a video message the same day: “As a nation, never in our history have we created a crisis but have always stepped up in support, to help the world get through a crisis.” 



Remember hounding of actor Rhea Chakraborty over drug allegations?

It is interesting that the official clarification statement from Adani group also only calls out what it calls “the motivated, malicious and false propaganda being run on social media against the Adani Group” and has not even mentioned any mainstream media outlets of ‘biased’ coverage. Perhaps a first for the mainstream media as well as any Indian who reads or watches television news knows that even a minor drug seizure has often fuelled massive ‘debates’ on TV, and even bold headlines with salacious allegations in print and on social media.

Everyone remembers how actor afte actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death by suicide in 2020, his partner, actor Rhea Chakraborty was dragged through the muck with vile allegations being made against her on a daily basis. Soon attacks on other celebrities, actors, directors etc had followed and were fodder for ‘prime time’ and ‘super prime time’ kind of news shows each of which claimed to have unearthed ‘exclusive’ details even before the police had. It had gotten so bad that in October 2020, a civil suit was filed before the Delhi High Court by four Hindi film industry associations and thirty-four leading film producers against the vicious and derogatory reportage by a section of the news media.

The suit named Arnab Goswamy and Pradeep Bhandari of Republic TV, as well as Rahul Shivshankar and Navika Kumar of Times Now as defendants, and prayed that they be directed to refrain “from making or publishing irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks against Bollywood as a whole and members of Bollywood, and to restrain them from conducting media trials of Bollywood personalities”. The plaintiffs took umbrage to certain terms used by these media houses in their reportage, such as “dirt”, “filth”, “scum”, “druggies” and expressions such as “it is Bollywood where the dirt needs to be cleaned”, “all the perfumes of Arabia cannot take away the stench and the stink of this filth and scum of the underbelly of Bollywood”, “This is the dirtiest industry in the country”, and “cocaine and LSD drenched Bollywood”. 

Now, after this drug seizure that is bigger than any TV studios collective worth, Twitter users are calling out the media coverage, or the lack thereof.



According to news reports, the importer firm, named “Aashi Trading Company, is alleged to be run by M Sudhakar and his wife G Durga Purna Vaishali”, they were “arrested by the DRI from Chennai a few days back and they were later brought to Bhuj town in Kutch. On Monday, the couple were produced before a special court for NDPS cases in Bhuj that granted 10 days’ custody of the two to the DRI,” stated the news report. Livemint added that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has “reportedly initiated a money laundering probe into the recent seizure of a record nearly 3,000 kg heroin from two containers at the Mundra port in Gujarat.” 

The last time Adani Ports had made it to the headlines was in April this year, when New York-based stock exchange S&P Dow Jones Indices has said that it has removed Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd from its sustainability index due to the company’s “business ties with Myanmar military” stated news reports on Tuesday. The Myanmar military has been accused of severe human rights violations that have reportedly followed the coup in February this year. Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd., the country’s largest private multi-port operator is reportedly paying over Rs 225 crore to the military-backed Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) in ‘land lease fees’ for a port in Yangon .

On March 31, the United States imposed sanctions against two Myanmar military companies. An Australian human rights lawyers collective had claimed that Adani Group is financially involved with one of the companies. 



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