Habitual drug offenders to be taken into preventive detention: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Wednesday told the Legislative Assembly that habitual drug offenders in the state would be taken into preventive detention as per the provisions of Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

“As per the Act, there is provision to jail habitual drug offenders for two years without bail. So far, we have not used this provision. Now, necessary direction has been given in this regard. Officials of both police and excise should be ready to submit the required recommendation to the authorities concerned as per the Act,’’ said the chief minister, while replying to an adjournment motion moved by Congress legislator P C Vishnunath.

CM Vijayan told the Assembly that there is an alarming increase in drug abuse-related cases in the state. As per the figures presented in the assembly, 16,128 drug-abuse related cases have been registered in Kerala this year till August 22. In 2020, 4,650 cases were registered and in 2021, 5,334 cases. There is a sharp increase in the number of arrested from 5,674 in 2020 to 17,834 this year. Also, 1,340 kg of cannabis, 6.7 kg of MDMA and 23.4 kg of hashish oil have been seized this year.

He called for changes in the existing mode of investigation and charge-sheeting of drug cases. In narcotics cases, the chargesheets do not mention the history of the accused if they had faced convictions in the past. To ensure maximum punishment for those facing offences under sections 31 (enhanced punishment for offences after previous conviction) and 31 A (award of death penalty to repeat offenders) of the NDPS Act, their history pertaining to convictions in similar cases should be incorporated. Necessary direction has been given in this regard, he said.

The chief minister said the NDPS Act has given a provision in which police and excise can collect a bond from the offenders affirming that they would not indulge in such cases in future. The officials should use this provision. Besides, a data bank of those involved in drug abuse and drug smuggling cases should be maintained.

Pinarayi Vijayan said the state government would go for a mass campaign against drug addiction with the support of various sections of society.