New Delhi, Sep 7 (PTI) In a pre-dawn joint operation with the Customs department, the Indian Coast Guard on Monday apprehended a fishing boat in the Hooghly Channel of West Bengal while it was trying to smuggle out a huge consignment of textiles, officials said.
The operation was conducted in the intervening night of September 6 and 7, the Coast Guard said in a statement.
'The joint anti-smuggling operation was launched and supervised by Coast Guard district headquarters at Haldia (West Bengal) in coordination with Customs officials,' it said.
The India Coast Guard deployed two hovercraft and one high speed interceptor boat on September 6 to monitor and intercept the suspect fishing boat.
The ICG assets closely monitored the movement of all boats transiting the Hoogly Channel throughout the night.
'The suspect boat Sagar was detected in Hoogly channel off Geonkhali close to dawn and was shadowed by the hovercraft,' it said.
At around 7.15 am on Monday, the fishing boat crew on sighting the hovercraft undertook various evasive measures and headed towards shallow waters to escape apprehension.
'The crew abandoned the boat near diamond harbour and took cover in the thick vegetation leaving the 16 meters boat stranded on the river bank,' the statement said.
The incident was reported to local police who undertook search operations and apprehended the crew taking refuge in the thick vegetation.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the boat was allegedly carrying an illegal transhipment of textile/garments amounting approximately Rs 5 crore, the statement said.
A joint investigation by concerned agencies is underway to ascertain the modus operandi of the smugglers, it added. PTI PR TIR TIR