NCB gets nod for 1,800 additional posts; cyber wing to crack down on crypto, Darknet drug deals

As per its expansion plan, the Narcotics Control Bureau aims to have zonal offices, to be headed by deputy D-G level officers, in all states in a phased manner

Ankur Sharma January 24, 2022 11:30:17 IST
NCB gets nod for 1,800 additional posts; cyber wing to crack down on crypto, Darknet drug deals

Representational image. News18

The Narcotics Control Bureau is gearing up to counter technology-led drug smuggling in India, having received clearance to increase its strength by 1,800 and set up a cyber-wing where experts will track and crackdown on smuggling activity done through Darknet and cryptocurrencies.

Sources told News18.com that the NCB had sent a proposal to the government for 3,000 additional posts and to open one-and-a-half dozen zonal offices.

"The NCB has planned a cyber-wing, which will be headed by a dedicated deputy DG level officer and will only work drug-related crimes fuelled by the internet, especially the Darknet. The wing will have close coordination with intelligence agencies and have almost a dozen officers. We have got sanctions from the concerned ministry regarding the same. The wing will do effective detection and investigation of drug trafficking cases involving cryptocurrencies and the Darknet", a senior official said.

The cyber-wing will have cyber-forensic capabilities like retrieval of deleted data from laptops, mobile phones and servers, various decryption tools and cyber-training sessions apart from a dedicated lab to deal with online drug trade.

Sources said the NCB, as per its expansion plan, aims to have an office in all states in a phased manner. “We have plans to have zonal offices in all states headed by zonal directors. We also have a plan to add six more deputy DG level officers who will report to D-G NCB. We have got the sanction for 1,800 staff in the first phase. We will start the recruitment process soon after completing all formalities,” the official quoted above said.

Since detection and identification of accused carrying drugs is an important task, the NCB will also have a canine wing and will recruit sniffer dogs for detection during raids. This wing will have Indian breeds as well, sources told News18.com.

For the intelligence wing, the NCB is already in the process of recruiting 100 junior intelligence officers who will join the agency on deputation basis from police and paramilitary forces. The NCB will also have direct recruitment at lower level, adding more teeth to its operations unit and zonal offices, officials said.

“Currently, we have five DDG level officers who report to D-G NCB. Soon, we will add more DDGs who will look after additional zonal offices. The plan is to have at least two more DDGs by the end of this year," another NCB official said.

According to the NCB, the apex coordinating agency also functions as an enforcement agency through its zones and sub-zones. Zones are currently located in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Indore, Jammu, Jodhpur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Patna. NCB sub-zones are located in Ajmer, Amritsar, Bhubaneswar, Dehradun, Goa, Hyderabad, Imphal, Mandsaur, Madurai, Mandi, Raipur, Ranchi and Kochi.

The zones and sub-zones collect and analyse data related to seizures of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, study trends, modus operandi, collect and disseminate intelligence and work in close cooperation with Customs, state police and other law enforcement agencies.

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