July 13, 2021 12:35:34 pm
Early last week, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) received a call from residents of Mahim complaining about the menace of alleged narcotics use in the area. The complainants said that youngsters were falling prey to charas, which was freely available in the locality. Following the lead, the NCB team laid a trap on Saturday and arrested a peddler Wasim Nagor from Mahim beach with a small quantity of charas.
The case was not an isolated one in the recent past for the NCB and follows the pattern of the Central anti-narcotics agency, meant to bust large drug networks, taking interest in even small seizures in the city since the last one year. Even as the agency’s focus on low-profile seizures has raised eyebrows in some circles, NCB officials said the quantity of the drugs is immaterial.
An NCB official said that on a daily basis, the agency gets at least eight to 10 tip-offs about suspected cases of drug usage in the city on its hotline number (22621593), e-mail id (firstname.lastname@example.org), and even in the form of calls made on mobile numbers of officers. “We study these complaints and decide on cases that can be followed up. The size or quantity of the drug is immaterial,” an official told The Indian Express.
Another official said the focus of the NCB on smaller hauls has been noticed following the controversy surrounding the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, in which drug angle is also being probed.
On the Mahim case, another official said even though the quantity was small, the seizure helped in busting a drug racket that had been afflicting the area for years now.
“Not only did we arrest the supplier, we also counselled at least 10-15 youngsters we found there. We will be doing regular rounds of the area to ensure it does not go back to being a place notorious for drug usage,” the official said.
Insiders said that usually it is the local police stations and the Anti-Narcotics Cell of the Mumbai Police that is tasked with ensuring action against drug usage in the city. An inspector from a police station in the western suburbs, however, said that with the NCB focusing on smaller cases, the local police have diverted their attention to cases where synthetic drugs like LSD and meth are involved and the size of the haul is also higher.
“If the NCB wants to focus on smaller cases, it is their decision. We, however, try to look to bust major drug networks and avoid working in cases where small quantities of marijuana are involved,” the officer added.
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