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Drug enforcement agency bolsters use of seldom-used law to stop traffickers

By on February 20, 2022 0

Those detained under the PITNDPS include foreign nationals (representational)

New Delhi:

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has issued an all-time high of 18 orders in the last approximately three months under PITNDPS, a rarely invoked tough law that allows for the preventive detention of repeat drug offenders until at two years old.

The detainees against whom the order was issued include foreign nationals.

During the period of detention, the accused cannot obtain bail or any remedy that may release him.

The Federal Narcotics Agency, officials told PTI, decided to use the law after NCB Director General SN Pradhan reviewed the agency’s operations and ordered that officers only focus on major narcotics cases and related cartels, prepare strong cases backed by a funding track. investigate and secure the conviction of the accused.

The PITNDPS or Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1988 “provides for the detention of persons involved in any way in the illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for one or two year(s) for the purpose of prevent them from engaging in such harmful and harmful activities”.

No fewer than 18 orders have been issued by the BCN under the PITNDPS over the past three months.

According to official data, more than 24 such orders were issued between December 2019 and November 2021 by the agency.

Those detained under the PITNDPS include foreign nationals, such as those from African countries who are routinely caught up in drug-related offenses in India, they said.

Under this criminal law, the Crown first prepares a proposal to detain a person (whether under arrest or otherwise) arguing that “unless prevented, the persons are likely to pursue harmful and detrimental activities by engaging in illicit drug trafficking.” This proposal is then reviewed by an appointed screening committee which either recommends the detention proposal to the detaining authority or rejects it.

The detaining authority is either an officer with the rank of co-secretary at the center, or a head of the state secretariat and it can issue a warrant of deposit for a period of one year extendable to two years under certain conditions subject to confirmation. by an advisory committee. in the High Court.

Detention under the law is also one of the grounds on which the agency can seize a defendant’s property. The detention period also helps investigators dig deeper into the connection to the crime, apprehend more people and disrupt the syndicate, they said.

Officials said that after the review by the head of the NCB, the agency began reviewing cases involving repeat or habitual narcotics criminals, not only in their files, but also in major cases referred by the states.

The review came around the same time the agency was embroiled in controversy following its October last year raids on the Cordelia cruise ship in Mumbai, where the impartiality of “ panchas’ (witnesses) deployed by her have been questioned and even allegations of extortion have been raised. against investigators.

These accusations are currently being investigated as part of an internal CBN vigilance investigation.

Bearing in mind the scale of the drug challenge, the Union Home Office has also recently sanctioned a total of 1,826 new positions at the NCB and this new manpower will be used to create a new cyber operations wing, additional zonal and sub-zonal offices in the country and creating more ranks at the supervisory rank of Deputy Director General (DDG).

Once the final sanction is received from the government, the recruitment and delegation process for the new positions will be launched, they said.

The agency currently has a sanctioned complement of approximately 1,100, including an actual complement of just over 700 staff. About 50 prosecutors have also been hired by the agency to present their cases in the respective courts. The agency never had those many prosecutors at once to defend its cases, officials said.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)