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Lakshadweep Admn. denies ships being used for smuggling

Written by: Staff
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Kochi, July 3 (UNI) The Lakshadweep Administration has denied as baseless reports that its passenger and cargo vessels were being used to smuggle unauthorised goods, including arms and drugs, from the mainland.

Describing reports in a section of the media here, following a CBI raid on 'M V Bharat Seema' on June 20, as a 'figment of the imagination', Lakshadweep Collector-cum-Development Commissioner Madhup Vyas said in a statement they were 'factually incorrect'.

Mr Vyas said the Administration's vessels were being operated either by the Shipping Corporation of India or the Lakshadweep Development Corporation Ltd.

The movement of the ships was closely monitored not only by the Administration but also by the operators, who had never reported anything unusual, he said.

Noting that armed policemen were posted on board 'M V Bharat Seema' and 'M V Tipu Sultan' to prevent any illegal movement of men and material, the Commissioner said so far there had been no report of any unauthorised incident onboard the vessels.

He added that if smuggling was taking place in the international sea route in an area where the Navy and Coast Guard kept constant vigil, they would have noted something and reported the matter.

'This Administration has not received any report from either Indian Navy or Coast Guard that the Administration's ships are involved in smuggling of unauthorized articles in the open sea in the UTL vessels,' Mr Vyas asserted.

The CBI, in its June 20 raid, found traders under-declaring goods being transported from here to Lakshadweep, causing monetary loss to the Union Territory Administration by way of less freight charges.

The agency had referred the matter to the Lakshadweep Administration for further action.

UNI ARC AA MSJ ND1748

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