To hood­wink cops, drug traders take to dark­net, Bit­coin

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION -

New Delhi: Drug traf­fick­ing in In­dia is on a new ‘high’ with anti-nar­cotics agen­cies de­tect­ing an in­crease in the trade through the cryptic ‘dark­net’ and the clan­des­tine cur­rency Bit­coin.

The Nar­cotics Con­trol Bureau (NCB) has in­ter­dicted two such syn­di­cates. “For the first time we have de­tected drug traf­fick­ers us­ing dark­net and Bit­coin for run­ning the racket in In­dia. Some of th­ese op­er­a­tives are based in the coun­try. We are prob­ing them,” said an NCB of­fi­cer.

While ‘dark­net’ is a clan­des­tine in­ter­net net­work which can only be ac­cessed with spe­cific soft­ware, con­fig­u­ra­tions and au­tho­ri­sa­tion and is dif­fi­cult to track by the usual com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­to­cols and ports, Bit­coin is re­ferred to as a crypto-cur­rency that al­lows con­sumers to make elec­tronic trans­ac­tions by skip­ping le­gal bank­ing chan­nels.

NCB of­fi­cials said the two syn­di­cates in­ter­cepted by them were prima fa­cie in­dulging in traf­fick­ing of party drugs. “The use of such ul­tra-se­cret mea­sures is wor­ry­ing but we are en­hanc­ing our ca­pa­bil­i­ties to ef­fec­tively and timely de­tect th­ese in­stances,” the of­fi­cer said.

Sources, mean­while, said cross­bor­der avail­abil­ity of heroin had de­creased. “Due to ef­fec­tive clam­p­down, there has been a 30% de­cline in traf­fick­ing in Pun­jab,” a source said.

At a re­view meet­ing, the NCB had in­formed the home min­istry that drug ad­dicts in Pun­jab were grad­u­ally get­ting at­tracted to medicine-based con­coc­tions . Data for 2015 showed Pun­jab ac­counted for the max­i­mum seizures of opium and heroin na­tion­wide.

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