Forfeit assets of drug traffickers, target kingpins: Rajnath Singh to officials

In his address at the conference organised by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), home minister said a “lot more” work still needs to be done in the field of combating narcotics crime.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2018 22:57 IST
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Narcotics,Narcos,Narco crimes
The NCB is the national agency for undertaking anti-narcotics measures and enforcement action and it coordinates with multiple police and government agencies to render this task.(Reuters File Photo)

Home Minister Rajnath Singh today called for strong steps against narcotics trade in the country, saying assets of drug traffickers should be “forfeited” and stern legal action be taken against drug cartels.

Singh, in his address at the first national conference on ‘drug law enforcement’ here, urged multiple government agencies working in this domain to increase the use of technology in drugs interdiction.

“To stop the inflow of money generated from illegal trade of drugs into our economy, proper financial investigation needs to be conducted in each significant NDPS (anti-narcotics law) case.

“Movable and immovable assets of drug traffickers should be forfeited. This will break the back bone of drug trafficking,” Singh said while addressing officials of various anti-narcotics agencies from the Centre and the states.

In his address at the conference organised by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), he said a “lot more” work still needs to be done in the field of combating narcotics crime.

“Drug law enforcement in India is a multi-agency task. All enforcement agencies should give high priority to this,” Singh said.

Drug trafficking, he said, is an organised crime run by cartels and syndicates and “we need to identify such syndicates and their kingpin and take stern action against them to disrupt their illegal businesses.”

He said regular arrests or “catching” by police and other agencies of drug carriers was the just the “first step” in the larger process of hitting at the roots of the drugs trade.

“Our national policy on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances gives equal emphasis on supply and demand reduction. We need to spread more awareness among the public particularly among the young about ill-effects of drug abuse,” he said.

The home minister also talked about the impact of drugs abuse on the society.

“Drug trafficking and abuse pose serious threat to our society and is a matter of serious concern for all of us. Drugs endanger peace, health and stability across regions.

“Drug abuse places a heavy burden on public health system in treatment of addicts and on the other hand the drug user becomes unproductive and cannot contribute towards the development and growth of the society,” he said.

The home minister said illicit cultivation of opium and cannabis in some parts of the country was a matter of concern and must be suppressed.

He said India’s geographical position on the globe -- between two largest opium producing regions of the world that is golden crescent in the west (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) and golden triangle (Myanmar, Laos and Thailand) in the east -- and sea and air links with these countries makes it “vulnerable” to drug trafficking.

Singh said it was important for Indian agencies like the NCB to “actively collaborate” with foreign countries, particularly neighbouring nations, by way of sharing of intelligence on a real-time basis.

He also gave out some figures of drugs interdiction and seizure last year.

During 2017, he said, various agencies seized 1,991 kg opium, 2,189 kg heroin, 1.96 lakh kg ganja, 2,657 kg hashish, and 67 kg cocaine in the country. Also, opium poppy crop spread over 6,007 acres and cannabis over 8,358 acres was destroyed by enforcement agencies, he said.

The minister informed that a total of 332 foreign nationals were arrested in drug cases in India in last year, largely for trafficking cocaine and heroine category of narcotics that are abused by the youth.

NCB Director General Abhay said that at the two-day conference, resolutions such as seeking longer shelf life for drug detection kits, more impetus on financial crimes, proper utilisation of legal powers to put drug traffickers under preventive detention and providing more funds to states for the creation of additional drug testing laboratories, were passed.

A total of 50 agencies from across the country and those from the drug enforcement agency (DEA) of the US and the Australian Federal Police also participated in the first-ever conference, the DG said.

First Published: Mar 24, 2018 22:57 IST