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After drug angle in Sushant case, NCB warns of diversion of widely-used chemicals in narcotics-making

New Delhi, Aug 29, 2020-

The mysterious death of late actor, Sushant Singh Rajput now has an accompanying narcotics angle with drug cartels being raided, in its latest report, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is grappling with the issue of diversion of precursors or chemical entities as mundane as potassium permanganate used for water treatment and fruit preservation which are misused by traffickers to manufacture cocaine.

The investigation into Rajput’s death has again brought into the focus the issue of recreational drugs with his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty alleging that the late actor was on marijuana for some time.

In addition, there are WhatsApp conversations between Chakraborty and associates seeking recreational drugs which have brought into focus the drug link in Bollywood and how it is being so widely used. There are also conspiracy theories that a drug trafficker based in the Middle East had something to do with Rajput’s death.

NCB in its latest report on “Drug situation in India and contributing factors” shared with BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) enforcement agencies highlighted the misuse of such chemical entities diverted for drugs trafficking and the need for enhanced cooperation between the leading emerging markets countries.

Highlighting the dual use of precursors, NCB has flagged the issue of how chemicals used for otherwise legitimate purposes can be subverted and misused to manufacture narcotics.

For instance, acetic anhydride is used legally in chemical and pharmaceutical industry as a textile sizing agent, manufacture of paracetamol (aspirin), production of brake fluids and production of dyes but can be diverted for illegal use to make heroin.

Similarly, potassium permanganate is widely used for water treatment, fruit preservation, synthesis of organic compounds and medical use but can be misused to make cocaine.

Anthranilic acid is used in the production of Azo dyes and saccharin and for esters used in making perfumes but can be misused for making methaqualone (Mandrax). Similarly, N-acetyl Anthranilic acid, an organic compound which gets metabolized into anthranilic acid can also be used to make mandrax.

Ephedrine is used in medicines (stimulant, bronchodilator, increase BP) can be diverted to make narcotic substance, ATS and pseudoephedrine used in medicines (nasal decongestant) is also an ingredient for ATS.

The NCB has been flagging the issue that seizures of precursors have not kept pace with the seizures of the end-product.

The reasons are evident as India has a robust pharma industry which opens the possibility of diversion of precursors.

The seizures made by the NCB reflect diversion towards Myanmar (even sourced from China), diversion to Africa and Afghanistan and shift towards designer precursors to evade detection for which continuous monitoring is undertaken.

On enhanced cooperation between BRICS countries, NCB highlighted real time sharing of information, focal points/nodal officers and multi faceted workable inputs having tele subscribers/IPs.

It also called for a focus on money laundering aspects, mechanisms for postal interdictions, use of control delivery mechanism and sharing of best practices.

India took the lead in early warning system generated alerts of misuse and diversion of Tramadol. “Most of the tramadol seized worldwide in the period 2012-2016 originated in India and China. There were significant seizures of Tramadol by India and other countries.

The major drug trafficking routes are some of the neighbouring countries. In the land route, it is spread across borders. On the north and north west border (neighbouring Pakistan). The north-east border includes (neighbouring Myanmar, Bangladesh) and Northern border (neighbouring Nepal).

The maritime route for trafficking is through the Arabian Sea (Heroin, Meth, Cocaine) and Bay of Bengal (Heroin, Meth). The air route constitutes of human carriers and concealment in baggage and body. In addition, there is the postal route and the Dark Net route used for drug trafficking.  (Agency)


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