(Eds: adding details) Kochi, Apr 19 (PTI) The Indian Navy has busted an international smuggling racket operating through Arabian sea, seizing narcotics worth Rs 3,000 crore from a Sri Lankan fishing vessel which originated from Pakistan, a Defence spokesman said here on Monday.
The Indian Naval Ship 'Suvarna', which was on surveillance patrol in the Arabian Sea, also arrested five Sri Lnakan nationals on board the vessel, he said.
'This is a major catch, not only in terms of the quantity and cost, but also from the perspective of disruption of the illegal narcotics smuggling routes, which emanate from the Makran coast in Pakistan and flow towards the Indian, Maldivian and Sri Lankan destinations,' the spokesman said.
Navy sources said the fishing vessel was brought to Kochi on Monday morning.
The crew are being jointly interrogated by officials from various agencies, including the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), at the Southern Naval Command (SNC), sources told PTI.
They will be handed over to the NCB for further investigation, they said.
Earlier, the spokesman said INS 'Suvarna' encountered the fishing vessel moving around in a suspicious manner in the Arabian sea.
'To investigate the vessel, the ship's team conducted a boarding and search operation, which led to the seizure of more than 300 kg of narcotics substances', he said.
The approximate value of the seizure in the international market is estimated to be Rs 3,000 crore, he said.
He, however, did not disclose the exact location from where the seizure was effected, or the day.
Apart from the human costs from drug addiction, the spoils of the narcotics trade feed syndicates involved in terrorism, radicalisation and criminal activities, the spokesman added. PTI TGBAPR ADMINISTRATOR TGBAPR ADMINISTRATOR