Goods for UN relief stolen from shipping containers, 1 held

Two sealed shipping containers carrying aluminium and steel utensils worth Rs 1.25 crore meant for United Nations’ relief projects in Kenya were instead found replaced with bricks and sand when it reached its destination.

After a month-long probe, Delhi Police have arrested a truck driver employed by the exporter in Haryana’s Panipat district.

The sealed containers were dispatched from Panipat on September 30 and were sent to Kenya from Gujarat’s Mundra Port. However, the gang made away with the goods even before it reached Inland Container Depot in south-east Delhi’s Tughlakabad.

The theft was discovered when the containers reached Nairobi in Kenya after two months. “The utensils transported by Panipat-based Krishna Overseas were to be distributed by United Nations under its relief projects,” said Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav.

Krishna Overseas had contacted Delhi-based Alpha Logistics Services for transportation from Panipat to ICD, Tughlakabad. Accordingly, Alpha Logistics Services sent two trucks, with GPS tracking systems, driven by Salauddin and Sunil Yadav.

The trucks reached Krishna Overseas’ manufacturing unit on September 29 and the firm sealed the containers after loading the utensils.

The trucks proceeded from Panipat on September 30 and deposited the containers at ICD, Tughlakabad on October 2. After Customs clearance from ICD, the containers were loaded on goods train and sent to Mundra Port. From there, they were shipped to Kenya.

“When buyer Spartan Relief Epz opened the containers in Kenya, they found it filled with bricks and sand. The importer informed Krishna Overseas regarding the absence of utensils,” Yadav added. The matter was reported to Delhi Police and a case was registered with Sarita Vihar police station.

During the scrutiny of GPS data, it was found that the GPS tracking systems of both the trucks remained switched off for four hours in Panipat. By the time the containers reached Kenya, both the truck drivers had also left Alpha Logistics Services and changed their mobile phone numbers.

On December 26, one of the truck drivers Salauddin was apprehended at his native place in Bihar’s Gopalganj district. Salauddin told police that he was introduced to the employer by co-accused Sunil. As per the plan, Sunil switched off the GPS tracking systems around 40 kms from Panipat, where their gang members and the receiver were waiting.

“They removed the containers’ seals and shifted the utensils to other vehicles. The gang placed bricks and sand of the same weight from nearby fields and fixed the seals. The GPS tracking systems were then enabled and the trucks were taken on the scheduled route to ICD, Tughlakabad,” Yadav said.

The sealed containers were deposited at ICD, Tughlakabad and the gang was aware that the containers would not be checked again. They knew it would take two months to reach Kenya, and committed the crime at the behest of an organised gang based in Uttar Pradesh.

Salauddin has been remanded to seven days police custody to Sarita Vihar police station. Efforts are being made to arrest the remaining gang members and recover the misappropriated goods.
DH News Service

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