Go after big fish in drug trafficking cases: Sitharaman

NEW DELHI, Dec 5: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday asked enforcement agencies to go after ‘big fish’ involved in drug trafficking, saying they need to find who is sending ‘mountains’ of illegal drugs into the country.
The Minister said revenue intelligence officers should strive to bring each case to its logical conclusion at the earliest possible time, adding that smugglers would certainly leave some indication or modus operandi and that should be used to reach the main handlers who are actually behind the operation.
“You would make sure that you would not allow the smuggler to be smarter than you all…There is a need for us to work hard and to make sure the logical conclusion is not only for the fellow who was caught with small sachet or a kilogram of cocaine, but who is sending mountains of it into this country, who actually can fund the mountain…And making it all possible,” she said.
Her comments come against the backdrop of huge quantity of drugs being caught at Gujarat ports in recent months.
Last week, 143 kilogram of drugs valuing about Rs 478 crore was seized in poll-bound Gujarat.
Sitharaman was addressing the 65th foundation day of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), which is primarily involved in busting of illegal trade of narcotic drug and psychotropic substances, gold, diamond counterfeit currency notes and other goods into the country, besides taking punitive action against the offenders.
She said reports of seizure of drugs by DRI also raise questions in the minds of people like how many of those arrested went to prison, and who is actually the big fish behind it.
“You are catching the small fries, the peddlers, the traffickers, the mules. Is that sufficient? To gain public confidence that is not sufficient at all. Are you able to bring the big handlers of such matters who are behind the scene to face the law of the land?” Sitharaman said.
The minister also suggested that DRI officers build greater access to international cooperation, and greater global coordination for sharing of intelligence to reach main perpetrators of the crime.
“Unless at least in a few cases you are able to get those big fries who are actually behind these operations, the constant question which remains in citizen’s mind is who are the people who perpetrated it, which is the global mafia who actually controls this. Can there be a greater visible approach to bring them to the books to face the law and also be seen convicted,” the Minister said. (PTI)