Kerala government delegates power to narcotic cell, DANSAF to register drug cases

In cases of small seizures, the local police will be responsible for conducting the probe.
Representative image
Representative image

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government has empowered the district narcotic cell and the District Anti-Narcotic Special Action Force (DANSAF) to register cases on their own to streamline action against drug trafficking. The decision was taken by the state government last month, assessing that there has been a surge in drug cases and that it’s imperative to augment the powers of the special wing to combat the menace.

The narcotic cell DysPs or assistant commissioners in each district have been delegated the power to register cases and investigate them. The narcotic cell DySPs have been designated as nodal officers in drug-related cases and they can perform the role of the investigating officers if required.

Hitherto, the local police used to register the narcotic cases even if the seizure was made by the narcotic cell or the DANSAF, which is an attachment force with members from various stations. Once the case is registered by the local police under whose jurisdiction the seizure was made, they conduct the rest of the investigation. However, owing to work-related pressure and other reasons, follow up investigations often get botched up.

After identifying this handicap, the home department decided to empower the narcotic cell to register the cases on their own and investigate if the seized contraband is of commercial quantity. In cases of small seizures, the local police will be responsible for conducting the probe.

The narcotic cell DySPs, most of whom have additional charges, including the Student Police Cadet project, have been divested of these duties, which will go to the additional superintendents. “The idea behind the move is to grow the narcotic cell into a potent and exclusive anti-drug trafficking force. The local police have a slew of other responsibilities and hence won’t be in a position to probe drug cases diligently and exhaustively,” said a senior officer.

According to the officer, the police are perturbed by the rise in drug-related cases and the matter was seriously deliberated during the meeting of the high-level officers convened by the state police chief. In cases which have inter-district connections, the investigation will be monitored by the range DIGs. If the case is more serious and warrants extra attention, then even higher officials will take up the monitoring task.

“Currently, most of the drug cases are connected to several districts. So it’s not prudent to have the district police conduct the probe in such cases. In such cases the DIGs in the police ranges will monitor the probe that would ideally be conducted by the narcotic cell or other special teams,” the officer added.

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