Use of cryptocurrency for drug trafficking worries Parliament committee

The Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs has voiced concerns over the increasing use of digital currencies and darknet for drug trafficking.

Published: 12th December 2021 09:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th December 2021 09:22 AM   |  A+A-


Parliament (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: The Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs has voiced concerns over the increasing use of digital currencies and darknet for drug trafficking. It also suggests the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to constitute a cyber-wing under the Narcotics Control Bureau. The panel’s report comes when the introduction of the bill to regulate cryptocurrencies is awaited at the ongoing winter session of Parliament. 
Darknet is an overlay network within the internet that is inaccessible to conventional search engines and requires special browsers to be accessed. Darknet is often used for pornography and illicit trade, as users are largely untraceable. 

In a report submitted in Parliament on Friday, the panel said, “The committee expresses concern about the increasing use of cryptocurrencies and ‘darknet’ for drug trafficking. Further, technology is being leveraged by drug traffickers to maintain anonymity, making it difficult to track the movement of drugs.”
The panel noted that steps are taken by NCB at the national and international level to contain drug trafficking in the country. But it emphasised that more needs to be done. 

“The committee recommends that MHA may advise NCB to establish a cyber-wing with an intelligence fusion centre for effective detection and investigation of drug trafficking cases  involving cryptocurrencies and darknet at the earliest. The committee may be apprised about the progress made in this regard.”

The MHA, in response, said a proposal for restructuring and expansion of NCB, including setting up of a dedicated cyber-wing, is under consideration. The  MHA is in consultation with the Ministry of Finance (Department of Expenditure). 

Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021 has been listed for passage in the winter session.  It seeks to create a framework for the creation of the official digital currency to be issued by RBI. It also seeks to prohibit private cryptocurrencies, but allows exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses.

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