As debate fumes in the state for being the hub of drug-trafficking, with the Director General of Police and Leader of Opposition recently cautioning the stakeholders to take lessons from Punjab’s drug menace, poor conviction rate in NDPS cases continues to stand’s-out in the report tabled by Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar at the ongoing monsoon assembly.
Since 2012, the Anti Narcotic Cell (ANC) has booked 230 cases under NDPS Act and seized contraband substance over Rs. 17 crore street value. Subsequently 263 suspects including 98 foreign nationals, 64 locals and others hailing from different parts of the country were arrested under various section of NDPS act among other charges. However, despite the arrests made by the police they have been able to convict only 14 (5 per cent) accused at the local or higher courts.
While defendant’s lawyers in most cases have been able to tear through the charges framed by the police as non-prosecutable evidence and for shabby investigation, on the other hand the police say that the drug peddlers are able to getaway with benefit-of-doubt at the local courts. “In cases of possession, transport and sale of drugs, it is difficult to establish such transactions in the courts, eventually this fact is upheld in favour of the suspects who walk out after the commission of the alleged offence,” police official attached with ANC says.
Meanwhile, 71 percent of the suspects arrested between 2013-2016 (June) under NDPS act are awaiting for their turn at court impending trial, some waiting as long as over three-years. While four foreigners and two Indian nationals have been acquitted of all charges against them, the police has reported that it has not yet completed investigation in 32 NDPS cases.
Amongst the contraband’s seized, while in majority of the stock comprises of small (100 grams) and commercial quantity (1 kilogram) of Ganja and Charas, sale of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances such as Amphetamine, Cocaine, Ecstacy, Heroin, LSD, Opium have also been detected during the tourist season (November to March) especially in the coastal belts of Calangute, Anjuna, Baga, Candolim, Vagator and other touristic hotspots. “The peddlers don’t find high-end clients among the local’s so they prefer to solicit drugs to the visitors, in most case our officers pose as prospective clients to nab the drug carrier and traders,” Superintendent of Police for Anti-Narcotic Cell (ANC) Karthik Kashyap said speaking earlier to The Indian Express.