Vizag port drug seizure: YSRCP, TDP trade blows over involvement in narcotics business

YSRCP draws links to Chandrababu Naidu, Lokesh, BJP while the TDP targets YSRCP Govt for drug menace.

Vizag port drug seizure: YSRCP, TDP trade blows over involvement in narcotics business

VIJAYAWADA: The seizure of a shipping container carrying narcotics drugs mixed with 25,000 kilos of dried yeast by the CBI in Visakhapatnam port on Thursday has now turned into a political battle between the ruling YSRCP and the opposition TDP.

YSRCP draws links to Chandrababu Naidu, Lokesh, BJP

An article published by the YSRCP-owned Sakshi claimed that the company Sandhya Aqua Exports Private Ltd- to which the shipment was being delivered to- has its office established in Lawsons Bay Colony in Vizag.

Also Read: Operation Garuda: CBI detains container with 25,000 kg narcotics laced with yeast in Vizag port

According to the article, Kunam Veerabharda Rao is the MD of the company and his son Kunam Kotaiah Chowdary is the CEO who is close to TDP leaders Damacharla Satya, Lavu Sri Krishna Devarayalu and Rayapati Jeevan.

The YSRCP took to X and tweeted, "It is well known that Damacharla Satya is very close to TDP president Chandrababu Naidu."

The party also claimed the involvement of BJP State president Daggubati Purandeswari's family with Sandhya Aqua.

TDP targets YSRCP Govt

Meanwhile, Chandrababu Naidu expressed concern about Andhra Pradesh becoming the drug capital of India.

In a statement on X, Naidu asked, ""The timing of such a massive drug consignment entering AP raises serious questions. What intentions could the ruling party have had for these drugs, especially with the upcoming elections?"

Lokesh too released a statement and highlighted the series of scandals emerging as the elections draw nearer. "Just now, I received troubling news about the seizure of 25,000 kg of drugs from Brazil at the Visakhapatnam port. If these narcotics were imported under the guise of a private company in Vizag, it reveals the extent of desperation within the J-gang. It's evident that the Tadepalli palace is a hub for this massive drug operation," he said.

Company issues clarification

The company meanwhile issued a rejoinder that the consignment was certified by the Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply for supply of yeast. The company also clarified that only traces of narcotics were found in the 25,000 kgs of dry yeast consignment and not 25,000 kgs of narcotics.

"The product consignment from ICC, Brazil has been duly certified for its contents by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply - MAPA, Federative Republic of Brazil vide their certificate dt.17-01-2024 and thereafter the consignment has been shipped and reached from Santos Port, Brazil via transhipment at Hamburg Port, Germany to Visakhapatnam Port, Andhra Pradesh, India on 16-03-2024.

"Basing on the information received from CBI, it is learnt that CBl is intimated by Interpol, Wiesbaden, Germany regarding possible drugs in a container coming to Visakhapatnam from Santos Port, Brazil. Pursuant to the information received from Interpol, Germany the CBI authorities along with Customs Visakhapatnam Porthas intercepted the said container and it is the same container that is shipping the consignment that belongs to our company.

"On 19-03-2024, the said container has been opened by the CBI along with other officials and witnesses alongside the presence of our company representatives. The consignment of 20 pallets were randomly tested by the officials with the aid of NCB Narcotic Drugs Detection Kit and have allegedly founded traces of narcotics. "Consequently, the CBI has initiated their investigation into the alleged narcotic substances and at this point in time we are fully cooperating with the investigation. However, in various media it is being projected as if entire 25000 Kgs is narcotics substance and the same is however in stark contrast to the reality. Allegedly it is only traces of certain narcotics that are found in the larger consignment of 25000 Kgs "dry yeast".

"We at the outset, reiterate that our company is in complete support of the nation's fight against narcotics with iron fist. Further any individual or individuals attempt to pedal narcotics ought to be curtailed followed by strict penal action against such miscreants."

Police refute claim on State officials’ interference in drug seizure

Visakhapatnam police meanwhile gave clarity on the CBI's report which mentioned that the presence of Government officials and port employees during the search operation, which was causing delays.

Visakhapatnam city commissioner Ravi Shankar said, “We are all on deputation to election commission of India. We have no political pressure or towards any leanings of any sorts. It's important to clarify that the Visakhapatnam port falls outside our jurisdiction as it is private port, owned by JM Bakshi. CBI DSP Initially requested our assistance with the dog squad. However, their plans changed, and they ultimately decided not to utilize our resource. The CBI said that they would conduct their own testing at the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL). Once they informed us of this, we were no longer required on-site.”

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