Mumbai Drug Bust Case: Aryan Khan and NCB 2021

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The cruise ship raid that occurred on Saturday has sparked a lot of discussion on the internet. The NCB officials managed to pull off a very filmy raid.

The cruise ship Cordelia Cruises’ Empress, which had just been inaugurated two weeks ago, was raided at a big event hosted by Fashion TV, a private lifestyle and fashion channel.

Fifteen days before the incident, NCB officers received a tip-off. Officials disguised as passengers with VIP tickets boarded the ship.

The ship was on its way to Goa, and the rave party began as soon as it left the Mumbai shore and reached mid-sea.

Officials from the NCB, led by NCB Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede, jumped into action right after and detained many people. Popular celebrity Shah Rukh Khan’s son, Aryan Khan, is one of the people who have been arrested.

Officials from the NCB seized drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine, mephedrone, and charas and charged the detainees under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

Read on to understand what the NDPS Act and NCB are and how they work. 

THE NARCOTIC DRUGS AND  PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES ACT OF 1985

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, or NDPS Act, addressed one of the most significant social issues: drug trafficking: deal or trade. It was passed in the year 1985. 

Evolution of the Law

In 1878, the Opium Act of 1857 was modified. The Opium and Revenue Laws Act of 1950, a reform of the 1878 Opium Act, followed. The NDPS Act, which took effect on September 16th, replaced all earlier acts.

India had begun to sign multiple United Nations (UN) conventions, including the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Drugs, and the 1988 Convention on Illicit Traffic in Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances.

Furthermore, Article 47 of the Indian Constitution mandates the state to prevent drug consumption except for medicinal grounds.

Provisions of the Law

The NDPS Act of 1985 is the primary legislation that governs how the state oversees narcotic drug and psychotropic substance activities.

It establishes a strict framework for prosecuting offenses involving the illicit trafficking in drugs (coca leaf, cannabis, opium, poppy straw) and psychotropic substances (made of natural/synthetic materials; for example- MDMA, ephedrine), including imprisonment and property confiscation. Financing illicit traffic and fostering offenders are both punishable under Section 27A of the NDPS Act of 1985.

  1. Drug dealing carries a minimum term of ten years in prison and a fine of Rs one lakh.
  2. At any cost, no bail will be issued.
  3. Drug convicts are not eligible to have their sentences reduced, remitted, or commuted.
  4. A repeat drug offender faces the possibility of receiving the death penalty.
  5. If an offender is caught with drugs for personal consumption, they could face a sentence of 6 months to a year in prison.

The Provision of this Law states

Whoever indulges in the financing, directly or indirectly, any, of the activities specified in sub-clauses (i) to (v) of clause (viii-a) of section 2 or harbors any person engaged in any of the aforementioned activities, shall be punishable.

With rigorous imprisonment for a term, which shall not be less than ten years. But it may extend to twenty years and shall also be liable to fine, which shall not be less than one lakh rupees and may extend to two lakh rupees:

Provided that the court may, for reasons to be recorded in the judgment, impose a fine exceeding two lakh rupees.

Difficulties faced in NDPS Conviction

  • Under the Punchnama, a drug recovery report must be filed.
  • A positive field kit report is required.
  • An accredited lab must issue the final reports.
  • Cooperating with various sections under the NDPS Act is mandatory. 

NARCOTICS CONTROL BUREAU: Mumbai drug case

The NCB, or Narcotics Control Bureau, is the main organization involved in the cruise ship raid. The NDPS Act of 1985 established this official authority, which collaborates with the Ministry of Home Affairs. It is a Government of India-owned nodal agency.

It is in charge of coordinating drug law enforcement with other ministries, offices, state/central enforcement authorities, and issues relating to drug trafficking. 

NCB collaborates with the CEIB (Central Economic Intelligence Bureau), Customs and Central Excise, the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation), the State Police Department, and other Indian intelligence and law enforcement agencies. 

Sections that have been invoked in the Drug Bust Case

So far, the NCB has invoked four different sections of the NDPS Act. Section 8(c) of the Act is one of them.

This law has provisions for any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance produced, manufactured, sold, purchased, transported, used, consumed, imported, or exported. Three more sections are read with this. 

Cannabis consumption is dealt with in Section 20 (b), narcotic drug or psychotropic substance use is in Section 27, and a presumption of guilty mental condition is dealt with in Section 35.

What is the maximum punishment that the ones who have been detained could face? 

According to the NCB, 13 grams of cocaine, 5 grams of mephedrone, 22 pills of MDMA (Ecstasy), all of which are classified as “intermediate” quantities, and 21 grams of charas, which are classified as “small” quantities under the NDPS Act, were seized on the cruise ship. The NCB did not mention from whom the drugs were confiscated or where they came from.

Section 8 is read along with the other sections based on which the drugs have been found.

Cannabis is dealt with in Section 20. As the amount of charas seized falls under the category of cannabis under the NDPS Act, the maximum penalty length is six months in prison or a fine of Rs.10,000, or both.

The maximum penalty for Section 27, which is a consumption charge, is one year.

The convicted must be in a culpable mental state, according to Section 35.

It means that the accused must prove that he did not have the desire, motive, or knowledge to commit the acts he has been charged with. 

References

Rachana Premanand

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