The Uttar Pradesh government today approved the draft of a bill to enact a stringent law on the the lines of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) to combat land mafia, mining mafia and organised crime in the state. The bill is expected to be introduced in the winter session of the state legislature, which commences here tomorrow. The Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Act (UPCOCA) was approved in a meeting of the state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath here, state government spokesperson and power minister Srikant Sharma told reporters. "The rule of law is the top priority of the government and for this it is essential that those indulging in mafia and 'goonda' activities, and disturbing peace in the society are identified and a special drive is launched against them. The bill is being brought with this purpose in mind," he said after the meeting. The draft of the proposed legislation has been prepared in consultation with the law department to check organised and white-collar crime, and mafias, he said, adding that there are 28 provisions in the draft bill which are not present in the existing Gangsters Act. The committee set up to examine the draft bill also took into account a similar act in Maharashtra. It was headed by the home department's secretary with the additional director general of police for crime and special secretary law as its members, the minister said. "Organised crime has been defined in detail in the (draft) bill. Kidnapping for ransom, illegal mining, manufacturing illicit liquor and its sale, acquiring contracts on the basis of muscle power, organised exploitation of forest produce, trade in wildlife, fake medicines, grabbing of government and private properties, and 'rangdari' (extortion) will come under the ambit of the new law," Sharma said. He said that arrangements have also been made to check the misuse of the bill and that cases under it will be filed only on the recommendations of the committee of divisional commissioner and range deputy inspector general of police. The permission of the zonal inspector general of police will be required before filing of charge sheet after thorough inquiry, he said. It has also been proposed that properties amassed through organised crime would be taken over by the government with the permission of the court during the course of investigation to check criminal elements from taking advantage of it, Sharma said. The property will be confiscated by the state government after conviction, the minister said. Sharma said that special courts will be constituted for hearing of cases lodged under the provisions of this bill and that a "state-level organised crime control authority" has been proposed to monitor gangs involved in organised crime. The state level authority will be headed by the principal secretary for Home. "This authority will either take cognisance on its own or on a complaint. It will probe the activities of organised gangs and will be entitled to examine any government file related to the case," he said. There is also a provision to form district level organised crime control authorities, which will be led by district magistrates. They can recommend cases to the state level authority after thorough probe, Sharma said. The draft bill also proposes a tribunal led by a retired high court judge for appealing against it, and will have a principal secretary and an official of DGP rank as its members, the minister said, adding that anyone can appeal against the decision of the authority in this tribunal. Those found involved in organised crime and having security will no longer be extended government protection and all white-collar criminals will be treated as such, he said.