Udaipur : The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has initiated legal proceedings for the expedient disposal of 23.5 metric tonnes of Mandrax (methaqualone) tablets, the largest ever confiscated stock of the contraband drug in the world. Acting on an application moved by the Drug Law Enforcement Officer (DLEO) under section 52A of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 in the NDPS court of Udaipur for pre-trial disposal of the seized stock, three magistrates have been appointed to preside over the proceedings for sampling and stock verification.
On obtaining a ‘certificate of correctness’ from the court, the DRI will depute a high level drug disposal committee for the destruction of the Mandrax stock. On October 28, the DRI, Narcotics department and the BSF in a joint action had raided a pharmaceutical manufacturing unit and its two godowns in Udaipur and Rajsamand and seized a huge amount of the contraband drug. Six persons including a Bollywood producer and mastermind Subash Doodhani, his nephews Ravi and Nirmal Doodhani, investor Parmeshwar Vyas, chemist Atul Mhatre and former partner Anil Malkani have been jailed so far and the investigation is still on. The seized stock is presently kept in sealed containers at the BSF cantonment premises in Udaipur. The drugs is said to be worth over 7,000 crore in the international market as a kilogram of Mandrax costs around 20 Lakh rupees globally.
Seized stocks vulnerable to theft, loss
“Because of the huge profits that may be derived from their sale, seized narcotic drugs are vulnerable to theft, substitution or loss. In addition, there is often a shortage of space for storing them and hence there is a provision in the NDPS Act for their pre-trial disposal” informed Praveen Khandelwal, special public prosecutor representing DRI in the case. “ The trial may take several years and since it is neither desirable nor safe to preserve the stock until then, a rigorous procedure of sampling and record maintenance at three levels is followed” Khandelwal said. Each samples in triplicate would be preserved and made available as primary evidence of possession for the court trial. In normal cases, there is a drug disposal committee empowered to order destruction of seized drugs upto a specific quantity, but since the Mandrax stock found in Udaipur is a huge one, the DRI will depute a high level committee which will carry out the disposal by incineration, Khandelwal said. The committee will then prepare a Certificate of Destruction in triplicate, the public prosecutor added. The entire disposal process may take three to six months, experts claim.