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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Explained: Here’s how Mumbai Police destroy seized drug

A look at the procedure of destroying drugs seized by the police and who has the authority to do it.

Written by Mohamed Thaver , Edited by Explained Desk | Mumbai |
Updated: December 17, 2021 2:09:07 pm
The Mumbai Waste Management Company Ltd, a disposal facility for waste products, is given the charge to destroy drugs. (File)

The Mumbai Police Wednesday disposed of 3,092 kg drugs worth Rs 14.65 crore seized by its anti-narcotics cell (ANC) in the last one year. The drugs were seized in 26 cases, all of which are sub-judice.

Here’s a look at the procedure of destroying drugs seized by the police and who has the authority to do it.

How were the drugs destroyed?

The drugs were destroyed Wednesday at a closed furnace of the Mumbai Waste Management Ltd at Taloja in neighbouring Navi Mumbai. The destroyed narcotics substances included 3,000 kg ganja, 3.297 kg charas, 24 gm cocaine, 866.5 gm mephedrone, 159.5 gm heroin, 84.687 kg of amphetamine and 11,000 bottles of cough syrup that has codeine phosphate.

When can a drug enforcement agency dispose of drugs seized by it?

An official said that soon after an agency seizes narcotics, it sends it off to the Chemical Laboratory for its analysis report which is called the CA (Chemical Analyser) report to confirm the seized substance is a narcotic. Once the chemical analyser report comes in, the Metropolitan Magistrate court, as per law, takes a sample of the narcotic substance to be produced as evidence during the trial. It is called an inventory panchnama. The rest of the narcotics are stored at a storage place assigned by the police. In Mumbai, the central storage is at the Azad Maidan Anti Narcotic Cell from where it is eventually disposed of.

Who has the authority to decide when the drugs can be destroyed?

As per a 2015 notification of the Ministry of Finance, every law enforcement agency has to form a Drug Disposal Committee (DDC). “The Head of the Department of each central and state drug law enforcement agency shall constitute one or more Drug Disposal Committees comprising three members each which shall be headed by an officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police, Joint Commissioner of Customs and Central Excise, Joint Director of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence or officers of equivalent rank and every such Committee shall be directly responsible to the Head of the Department,” the notification says.

In Mumbai Police, Joint Commissioner (law & order) heads the committee which comprises Additional Commissioner of Police (crime) and DCP (ANC).

Every few months, the DDC holds a meeting and once there is a sufficient quantity for which the CA report has come — quantity specified by the notification — the committee decides to destroy it.

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What is the process of destroying narcotic substances?

In Mumbai, the Mumbai Waste Management Company Ltd (MWMCL), a disposal facility for waste products, is given the charge to destroy drugs. Once the DDC decides that enough has been gathered — in this case it was 3,000 kg whereas earlier this year it was 670 kg — they transport it to the MWMCL that has a facility at MIDC in Taloja. The drugs are then disposed of in an incinerator in the presence of DDC members.

On Wednesday, two trucks from the Azad Maidan ANC office left for Taloja at 3 am in the presence of an armed guard who was photographed and a panchnama was carried out. The process of incinerating the narcotics began at 10 am and went on till 7 pm. The entire process was also photographed for future reference.

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