In 12 years, assets of nine seized in Kerala for drug peddling
Combined worth of assets, which include properties bought using money from drug sales, runs into crores of rupees
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In the 12 years since 2011, the excise department has confiscated the assets of nine people who were involved in drug peddling. The combined worth of the assets, which include properties bought using money from drug sales and bank accounts where such money was deposited, runs into crores of rupees.
The action was taken by invoking Section 68F (2) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, which allows the confiscation of properties procured using proceeds from the drugs trade. The latest was in May.
As per the information obtained from the excise department, one property seizure was effected in 2011 and 2012. After that, there was a seven-year gap until the next seizure in 2019. Two confiscations were carried out in 2019, both in Thiruvananthapuram. Bank accounts were also frozen in the two cases.
In the first case, the accused person’s bank account, containing Rs 2.79 lakh, was frozen. In the second case, Rs 6 lakh deposited in the bank account was frozen and an Innova car was impounded. In 2021 and 2022, one property each was seized.
The latest confiscation was carried out in May, again from Thiruvananthapuram. Around 12 cents of land and an under-construction multi-storey house worth nearly Rs 50 lakh belonging to a 35-year-old woman from Balaramapuram were seized.
What was interesting in the case was that the woman was not involved in drug peddling. It was her live-in partner, who was arrested for the offence. However, a probe revealed that the now-seized property, though registered in the woman’s name, was bought by the partner.
Meanwhile, the excise department is gearing up to seize the properties in nearly 12 cases.
“In the seizure of commercial quantities of drugs, we direct our financial investigation units to probe the financial background of the accused persons. In nearly 12 cases, we have concluded that the assets were purchased using funds earned through drugs sales. We have initiated the process to get the approval from the competent authority (CA) in Chennai,” said an excise officer. The CA is a statutory body under the NDPS Act that can take a call on freezing illegally-acquired properties.