Cross-border drugs smuggling: Govt tells customs to invoke NDPS Act in all cases

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Updated: Jul 07, 2020 7:47 PM

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance or NDPS Act, 1985 has strict penal provisions like rigorous imprisonment of at least ten to a maximum of 20 years with a fine ranging from Rs one to two lakh.

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The move is aimed at providing “effective deterrence” to cross-border smuggling of drugs, they said. (Representational Image: Reuters)Taking serious note of cross-border smuggling of drugs, the government has asked the customs department and its intelligence agencies to invoke the stringent NDPS Act in all such cases, officials said on Tuesday.

The move is aimed at providing “effective deterrence” to cross-border smuggling of drugs, they said.

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance or NDPS Act, 1985 has strict penal provisions like rigorous imprisonment of at least ten to a maximum of 20 years with a fine ranging from Rs one to two lakh.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), which comes under the Finance Ministry, has issued a directive asking chiefs of its two intelligence agencies – Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligence (DGGI) — and others in this regard.

The same official communication was sent last month to chief commissioners of customs and customs (preventive) as well.

“I am directed to state that the Hon’ble Home Minister (Amit Shah) has directed in all cross-border narcotics drug cases affected by the customs formations, NDPS Act, 1985 should also be invoked under which customs officers are duly empowered to provide effective deterrence to cross-border smuggling of cases,” the directive said.

The Act has, however, specified commercial quantities of narcotics, to invoke harsh punishment under it, which is 100 grams in case of cocaine, 250 grams in case of heroin and 20 kg for Ganja among others, the officials said.

They said some customs formations are already using the NDPS Act in the cross-border drug cases.

“However, there may be some formations who may not be invoking the NDPS Act in such case either due to lack of awareness or to avoid inter-departmental complications,” a senior DRI official said.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) under the Union Home Ministry is the lead agency tackling the menace of drug trafficking.

Customs formations across the country have been registering various cases of drugs smuggling.

Last month, customs (preventive) officials at Delhi cargo (import) terminal had seized 4.6 kgs of marijuana in two consignments which were declared as “256 GB Level 3 computer server” weighing around 14.5 kgs each.

On detailed examination of the consignments, six black packets containing a total of 4.6 kgs of marijuana was recovered from the cavity inside computer servers, which did not have any circuitry.

It was seized under Section 43(a) of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

Customs department in Pune had last month seized Rs 2.10 crore worth narcotic drugs coming from Andhra Pradesh.

Two other cases of cocaine smuggling were booked at the Delhi International Airport in December last and January this year, in which passengers had tried to smuggle in cocaine by concealing it inside the capsules swallowed by them.

In the first case, 880 grams of cocaine, valued at around Rs 4 crore, was concealed in 90 capsules swallowed by the passenger who had come from Sao Paulo (Brazil).

In another case, 860 grams of cocaine, also valued around Rs 4 crore, was concealed in 50 capsules which was swallowed by a female passenger coming from Guinea. Both were arrested, the officials said.

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