The state police have infiltrated the dark web where narcotics are sold, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Tuesday, while declaring that the government had started a war on drugs. 

Replying to a question in the Assembly on the drug menace in Bengaluru’s Sarvajnanagar constituency, Bommai said the peddlers had found newer ways that posed a challenge to the police. 

“Of late, drug supply has started happening through the internet,” Bommai said. “There’s something called the dark web. There’s a search engine called Tor. All illegal activities – sale of drugs, weapons and so on – happen on the dark web. It’s not easily accessible, because it is by invitation only. The Karnataka police has broken (into) this,” he said, adding that the CCB had been ordered to regularly monitor this.

“Drugs are also being sent through speed post and ordinary mail. In fact, we have arrested four postal department officials involved for this,” Bommai said. In 2019, the police had booked 1,652 cases, which is higher than usual, he pointed out. 

“Synthetic drugs are coming now. They look like chocolate and are available near colleges, in paan shops and so on,” he said. The government will launch a drive against drugs in April.

“College managements must take responsibility for drug abuse on campuses and report them. We have zero tolerance for drugs,” he said. 

According to Bommai, 116 cases have been booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in Sarvajnanagar since 2017, leading to 289 arrests, of whom 49 were foreigners. Curiously, not a single case has seen conviction so far. 

“We now have the Coronavirus, but drug abuse is a permanent virus,” Congress’ Sarvajnanagar legislator K J George, a former home minister, said. “The CCB will have so many other things to do. Cracking down on the drug menace may not be a priority for them,” he said.

Bommai informed the House that eight Cyber Crime, Economic Offences and Narcotics (CEN) police stations had been established in Bengaluru. “Every district has one,” he said. “Our dog squad is checking the cargo section of the Bengaluru international airport every day.” 

Congress’ Shantinagar MLA N A Haris said the government should improve the law to deal with the drug menace. “I agree,” Bommai said. “The NDPS Act came in 1985 and things have changed ever since.”

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