25 tonne Quran up for auction at International trans-shipment container terminal in Kochi

January 21 will see 25,000 kg of Holy Quran described as “unclaimed and uncleared” imported goods being auctioned at the International Trans-shipment Container Terminal at Vallarpadom in Kerala’s Kochi.

The Holy Quran, believed to be from a West Asian country and printed in state-of-the-art presses abroad had been lying unclaimed in the Trans-shipment Container Terminal for the last few months. Strangely, the authorities said there were no addresses of the consignees or senders printed on the  container. Since the quantity of Qurans in the container weigh only 25 tonnes, there are speculation that the container could have been used to import some other materials about which there are no disclosures.

MIV Logistics Private Limited, the shipping company which has placed the advertisement in local media was tight lipped about the why and how of the Quran consignment. What baffles  the port authorities and intelligence agencies are the absence of the names and addresses of the sender and consignee. Sources in Kochi Port said the intelligence agencies have ordered a probe into the whole affair.

“The Vallarpadom Container Terminal is infamous for the import of containers carrying high denomination currency notes during the 2004 to 2014 period. The entire consignment of counterfeit currency notes were injected into the Indian economy  through a series of well planned and conceived hawala transaction,” said Suresh Gopinath, auditor and tax practitioner based in Kerala’s Perumbavoor. He said the town of Perumbavoor was the hub of hawala transactions and an amount of Rs 1,000 crore has been distributed among one particular minority community in the small town.

MIV Logistics Pvt Ltd Container Freight Station is a joint venture company in which the major share holders are Infrastructure Kerala Ltd (a public sector undertaking in which the Government of Kerala is the majority stake holder), Mfar Bahrain, the business house owned by West Asia based P Mohammed Ali.

What has shocked the authorities in Kochi is the callous manner in which the holy book consignment has been dumped in the port. The printing rights of the book is reserved for “The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Complex for the Printing of The Holy Quran”.  The earlier instances when the Holy Book was shown disrespect at Guantanamo Bay had given rise to large scale furor.

Shipping agents who spoke to The Pioneer expressed shock over the indifferent manner in which the religious books have been sent to India. “Any international consignment could sent only with the addresses of the senders and consignees. It is shocking to note that the people who are behind the export and import of this consignment has played with fire because what they have done is blasphemy,” said a shipping agent.