NEW DELHI: India is considering a proposal to set up Integrated Law Enforcement Centres (ILECs) to investigate and check all cross-border and transnational crimes that have a direct bearing on national security. The initiative will be on the lines of Frontex of the European Union, the Border Agency of the UK and the Department of Homeland Security of the US.
The new agency will bring together personnel from all law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders to collaboratively detect, register and investigate cases related to border crimes, particularly cross-border terrorism, smuggling of arms and ammunition, trafficking in fake currency, narcotics, cattle and endangered species and other transnational crimes.
Keen to implement the proposal at the earliest, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has set up a committee of five senior officials drawn from different agencies to vet it. The proposal was submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the form of an exhaustive report prepared by senior IPS officer Santosh Mehra, who is presently inspector-general of police (personnel) with the Border Security Force (BSF).
The Integrated Law Enforcement Centres will comprise personnel of the relevant border guarding force of the area — such as the BSF — Intelligence Bureau (IB), National Investigation Agency (NIA), Special Bureau (Research and Analysis Wing), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Customs, local police, anti-trafficking cells, wildlife wing/biodiversity wings of the Ministry of Environment and Forests and linguists/interpreters.
“Integrated Law Enforcement Centres will be stationed at existing and proposed Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) established by the Land Port Authorities of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs. These centres would be given the mandate for registering, investigating and disposing all types of cross-border crimes with jurisdiction clearly defined and coinciding with Government of India regulations with respect to Border Guarding Forces,” says the report, a copy of which was accessed by The New Indian Express.
Though the BSF, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) have proved their worth in the face of aggression by neighbours, when it comes to control of day-to-day cross-border crimes, these forces have a limited role to play. The existing arrangements to control cross-border crime have proved to be far from adequate, the Santosh Mehra report points out.
ILEC: Amalgam of several agencies
The integrated centre would include officials from Customs, NCB, NIA, DRI, Enforcement Directorate, local police, anti-trafficking cells, FSL, Intelligence Bureau, Special Bureau (RAW), and Wildlife Wing/Biodiversity Wing of Ministry of Environment and Forests.