Officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Customs authorities stressed the need for bringing the ketamine hydrochloride drug under the ‘Controlled Substance’ category of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

A senior DRI official said the seizure of 440 kg of the drug at Tuticorin was the largest ever seizure made by any law enforcing agency in the country. The subsequent arrest of three persons, including the brain behind the operation clearly indicated that the existing legal provisions were inadequate to control the smuggling of this drug.

Under the existing legal provisions, any one who wants to export ketamine should obtain a no objection certificate from the Narcotics Commissioner. This was introduced with a view to curb smuggling. However, the provision had not yielded the desired results in reducing the smuggling activity, the officer said.

The Narcotics Control Bureau authorities were not in favour of bringing the drug under the purview of NDPS Act, as there were not many complaints about the abuse of this particular drug at the local level.

Countering this argument, both the DRI and Customs authorities pointed out that already the drug was available in rave parties in some states in the western region of the country. Use of the drug spreading to other parts of the country was very high, they argued.

The authorities said that in the South-East Asian countries the drug had created a lot of social problems particularly among the youth. This had forced the officials concerned to ban it and ultimately categorising it under the narcotic drugs, the DRI and Customs authorities added.

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