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Explained: 30k kg of drugs destroyed by NCB – what rules govern disposal of seized narcotics?

Section 52-A of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 allows probe agencies to destroy seized substances after collecting required samples.

Flames rise from burning illegal narcotics, seized from various operations, during a mass drugs disposal programme organised by Guwahati's Police Commissionerate, in Kamrup district, July 30, 2022. (PTI)

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on July 30 destroyed 30,000 kg of seized drugs at four locations – Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi and Guwahati — in the virtual presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The narcotic substances were destroyed under a drug disposal campaign that began June 1 as part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’.

What is the law that allows the destruction of seized drugs?

Section 52-A of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 allows probe agencies to destroy seized substances after collecting required samples. Officials concerned must make a detailed inventory of the substance to be destroyed.

“A five-member committee comprising the area SSP, director/superintendent or the representative of the area NCB, a local magistrate and two others linked to law enforcement and legal fraternity is constituted. The substance is then destroyed in an incinerator or burnt completely leaving behind not any trace of the substance,” NCB’s Chandigarh counsel, Advocate Kailash Chander, said.

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What is the exact procedure that is followed?

The agency first obtains permission from a local court to dispose of the seized narcotic substances. These substances are then taken to the designated place of destruction under a strict vigil. The presiding officer tallies the inventory made at the storeroom with that material brought to the spot. The entire process is videographed, photographed.

Then one by one, all the packets/gunny bags of the substance/s are put in the incinerator. As per rules, committee members cannot leave the place until the seized drugs have been completely destroyed.

Which agency is authorised to carry out such an exercise?

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Every law enforcement agency competent to seize drugs is authorised to destroy them after taking prior permission of the area magistrate. These include state police forces, the CBI and the NCB among others.

On June 20, Chandigarh Police, along with NCB sleuths, had jointly destroyed 102.260 kg heroin, 0.495 gm charas, 0.250 kg poppy-husks, 16.6 kg cannabis, 48 injections of Buprenorphine and Pheniramine Maleate, 904 tablets of tramadol in Mohali.

What is the need to destroy seized drugs?

The hazardous nature of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, their vulnerability to theft, substitution, constraints of proper storage space are among the reasons that make agencies destroy them.

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“There have been instances when seized narcotics were pilfered from the storeroom. To prevent such instances, authorities try to destroy seized drugs immediately after collecting the required samples out of the seized substances,” a police officer said.

First published on: 01-08-2022 at 08:18:49 pm
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