Free Press Journal

SC alarmed at theft of seized narcotics from police custody


New Delhi: The Supreme Court today expressed alarm and termed as “very serious” the pilferage of seized narcotics from the custody of police and other authorities across the country and asked the Centre to come up with a “proper flow chart” to ensure their safe storage and eventual destruction. “Why don’t you (Centre) provide proper place in each district for keeping the contraband. The places should be properly guarded. Pilferage of such things is very serious,” a bench of justices T S Thakur and Kurian Joseph said.

The bench asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar to provide a flow chart through which the seized drugs should pass and said it would then issue certain directions for proper storage and subsequent destruction of drugs and narcotics. “We will do it after discussing it with the officers who are present here,” the Solicitor General said, while seeking the hearing tomorrow itself on the issue.

A recent data, submitted in the apex court following its order, has revealed that of the 51.4 lakh kg of narcotics and drugs confiscated across the country over the last 10 years, only 16 lakh kg were destroyed. During the hearing, the court made clear that it will not interfere with procedures prescribed for the seizure of the contraband and its directions would deal with the storage and eventual destruction of the drugs.

At the outset, Kumar referred to the Centre’s affidavit that dealt with information provided by the Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN), Sashastra Seema Bal, Central Board of Excise and Customs and Narcotics Control Bureau on issues like setting up of Drug Disposal Committees, their functioning and storage and destruction of the seized drugs.

The data, submitted earlier by senior advocate Ajit Kumar Sinha who was appointed amicus curiae in the case, had also shown that Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were among the states that were not able to burn even five per cent of the drugs confiscated.

Other states such as Odisha, Bihar, Goa and Manipur have not destroyed any contraband seized over the last decade while Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat had also destroyed less than five per cent of drugs confiscated.