The Uttar Pradesh government on Wednesday introduced in the state Assembly a bill to enact a stringent law on the lines of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) to combat land mafia, mining mafia and organised crimes in the state.
The Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Bill, 2017, was introduced in the House by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath soon after the Question Hour.
The state Cabinet had recently approved the draft of the proposed legislation which was prepared in consultation with the Law Department for an effective check on organised crime, mafia and white collared crimes.
Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meet last week, senior minister Srikant Sharma had said, “The rule of law is the top priority of the government. For this, it is essential that those indulging in mafia and goonda activities are identified and a special drive is launched against them...the bill is being brought with this purpose in mind.”
The proposed legislation seeks to check organised and white-collar crime and mafias, he had said, adding that there were 28 provisions in the bill which are not present in the existing Gangsters Act.
A committee was set up to examine the draft of the bill which took into account a similar act in Maharashtra.
The committee was headed by the home department’s secretary with the additional director general of police for crime and special secretary law as its members.
Organised crime has been defined in detail in the bill, Sharma had said.
“Kidnapping for ransom, illegal mining, manufacturing illicit liquor and its sale, acquiring contracts on the basis of muscle power, organised exploitation of forest produce, trade in wildlife, fake medicines, grabbing of government and private properties, and ‘rangdari’ (extortion) will come under the ambit of the new law,” he had said.
He had also said that arrangements were made to check the misuse of the bill and that cases under it would be filed only on the recommendations of the committee of divisional commissioner and range deputy inspector general of police.
Opposition leaders, including Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati, had said the bill could be misused to settle political scores and feared that it might be used to suppress minorities, the poor and downtrodden sections of the society.
The bill had a provision to take over properties amassed through organised crime, with the permission of the court during the course of investigation, in order to check criminal elements from taking advantage of it, Sharma had said.
The property would be confiscated by the state government after conviction, the minister had said.
Special courts would be constituted for hearing of cases lodged under the provisions of this bill and that a state-level organised crime control authority was proposed to monitor gangs involved in organised crime.
Those found involved in organised crime and having security cover would no longer be extended government protection and all white-collar criminals would be treated as such, going by the provisions in the bill.