NEW DELHI : The Ministry of Home Affairs has handed over the probe into the case of a Chinese vessel, which authorities suspect may have been transporting missile-related equipment to Pakistan, to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Sources said that the NIA has already registered an FIR in relation to the matter.
In February last year, intelligence inputs from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) stated they had intercepted a Chinese vessel en route to Karachi at Gujarat’s Kandla port.
The inspection of the vessel had led to discovery of an industrial autoclave that experts at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) opined could be used to manufacture long-range missiles. The vessel, sources said, had “misdeclared” the goods as industrial dryers.
Indian security establishment had at that time expressed fears that China was surreptitiously building Pakistan’s military capabilities. China had denied the allegations at that time.
“The orders to register a case in the matter came on Friday, and an FIR has been registered accordingly,” an NIA official said.
According to sources, on February 3, DRI and customs officials detained Chinese ship Dai Cui Yun at Kandla port. Upon inspection, the authorities found an autoclave, which was 18×4 m in size, and was said to be a dual-use civil and military equipment. The item was seized as it was “misdeclared” and the ship was subsequently released to sail to Port Qasim in Karachi.