Property ordered forfeited

NEW DELHI JULY 26. The Appellate Tribunal for Forfeited Property has ordered the forfeiture of the Mumbai-based properties of an alleged drug lord, Iqbal Memon alias Iqbal Mirchi, and his family members. Iqbal Mirchi has been outside India since 1992 and is residing in London while some of the other appellants are also outside India though they are all Indian citizens. The properties are said to be worth several crores and have been forfeited under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS).

Iqbal Mirchi was ordered detained by the Maharashtra Government on September 2, 1994 under the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (PIT NDPS). Action was initiated under the NDPS Act, for the forfeiture of their property.

The appellants submitted that the NDPS Act was not applicable to Indian citizens residing outside India. The Tribunal, however, said an amendment effective from October 2, 2001 extended the Act to the whole of India and also made it applicable to all citizens of India outside India and all persons on ships and aircraft registered in India.

The Tribunal, in its judgment delivered by the Chairman, J. Eswara Prasad and Members Devinder Narain and A. M. Prasad, referred to the principle laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Mubarak Ali Ahmad vs. Sate of Bombay (AIR 1957 S. C. 857) relating to Indian Penal Code and held that even under the unamended provisions of the NDPS Act, it was applicable to Indian citizens residing outside the country. By virtue of the amendment, Parliament had only made the position clear by making it explicit what was implied in the unamended Act.

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