This article is written by Mudit Jain , pursuing B.B.A.LL.B.(H) from the Indore Institute of Law. This article describes the Organised Crimes in India, in what type they are being conducted and what are the flaws in the control method.
The sale of unlawful products and services to a large number of citizen clients is the mainstay of organised crime. It is also heavily involved in legal commerce and labour unions. It uses unlawful techniques including as monopolisation, terrorism, extortion, and tax evasion to drive out or control legitimate ownership and leadership, as well as to take illicit profits from the public. Organized crime also corrupts public authorities in order to avoid government intervention and is growing more sophisticated. In India, in addition to the conventional realms of activity like extortion, soliciting protection money, contract killing, bootlegging, gambling, prostitution, and smuggling, drug trafficking, illicit arms dealing, money laundering, and transportation are now involved. Organized crime seeks to obtain power by influencing public authorities and therefore monopolising or near monopolising. Later, the money and power that it generates are utilised to infiltrate the legitimate company and a variety of other linked operations.
Meaning of Organised Crimes
Organised crime is described as “those involved in continuing major criminal actions for large profit elsewhere, usually in collaboration with others.” An organised crime gang is a gang of criminals who work together for the length of a certain criminal activity or activities. Structures of organised criminal groups differ. A stable core of essential persons is commonly seen in successful organised criminal groups. There is a swarm of subordinates, experts, and other temporary individuals surrounding them, as well as an extensive network of disposable allies.
Many organisations are, in reality, informal networks of criminals that band together for the length of a criminal operation, playing various roles based on their abilities and competence. Shared experiences (such as incarceration) or recommendations from reliable persons strengthen collaboration. Others are bound by family or cultural connections — some are even referred to as “criminal families.”
Organized crime employs professionals who provide a service, sometimes to a variety of crime organisations. Transportation, money laundering, debt collection, or the provision of fraudulent papers are examples of services (identity crime supports a wide range of organised crime).
Characteristics of Organised Crimes
Continuity: The criminal organisation exists beyond the lives of individual members and is designed to withstand changes in leadership.
Structure: The criminal organisation is organised as a set of hierarchically ordered interconnected offices each dedicated to the accomplishment of a certain function. It might be very organised or quite flexible. It is distinctive, though, because the rankings are based on power and authority.
Membership in the core criminal group is restricted and based on shared characteristics such as ethnicity, criminal record, or mutual hobbies. Potential members are subjected to extensive inspection and must demonstrate their worth and commitment to the criminal organisation. Membership standards include secrecy, a readiness to perform any act for the organisation, and a desire to safeguard the group. In exchange for allegiance, a member of a criminal organisation receives financial incentives, a certain status, and protection from police authorities.
Criminality: To obtain revenue, the criminal gang relies on ongoing criminal activities. As a result, ongoing criminal conspiracy is inherent in organised crime. Some unlawful activities include the provision of unlawful products and services.
Violence: Violence and the threat of violence are essential components of a criminal organisation. The threat of violence is employed against members of the group to keep them in line, as well as against outsiders to preserve the organization’s economic interests. Members are expected to engage in, condone, or allow violent behaviour.
Power/Profit Goal: The criminal group’s members seek to maximise the group’s profits. Political power is obtained by the corruption of public authorities, such as lawmakers and political executives. The criminal organisation retains power by its affiliation with the “protectors,” who defend the organisation and its earnings.
Legal Position in India on Organized Crimes
In some form or another, organised crime has always existed in India. It has, however, taken on a more virulent form in contemporary times as a result of a variety of socioeconomic and political causes, as well as improvements in science and technology. Although rural India is not immune, it is mostly an urban problem.
Criminal Conspiracy is defined in Section 120-A of the Indian Penal Code as “when two or more persons agree to do or cause to be done-
(1) an illegal act,
(2) An act that is not made criminal by using illegal methods. Such an agreement is referred to be a criminal conspiracy.
Except, however, that no agreement, other than an agreement to commit an offence, shall constitute a criminal conspiracy unless one or more parties to such agreement perform some act other than the agreement in pursuance thereof. merely ancillary to that object.”
Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code makes criminal conspiracy a punishable offence.
Dacoity and Related Offences
Dacoity is one of India’s oldest types of crime, conducted solely for the goal of looting or extortion. Dacoity is defined in Section 391 of the Penal Code as:
“When five or more people concurrently commit or attempt to commit a robbery, or when the total number of people concurrently committing or attempting to commit a robbery, and persons present and aiding such commission or attempt amount to five or more, every person so committing, attempting, or aiding is said to commit ‘dacoity.’”
Dacoity is punished by life imprisonment or harsh imprisonment for up to ten years and five months (section 395).
a) criminals preparing to commit debauchery (section 399)
a) Congregation with the aim of committing dacoity (section 402).
c) Section 400 of the Code criminalises the act of belonging to a “gang” of people who are connected for the purpose of committing dacoities on a regular basis.
d) Abduction for ransom, the legislature added Section 364-A to the Indian Penal Code.”
Law on Gangsters
There is no centralised regulation to combat “gang activity” that is applicable across the country. The most populous and politically powerful state, Uttar Pradesh, adopted the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986, which is solely applicable in that state. The gang has been defined as a group of people who, individually or collectively, engage in anti-national activities through violence or the threat of violence in order to gain undue political, economic, or physical advantages, and this includes offences against the body, boot-legging, forcible possession of the immovable property, causing communal disturbances, obstructing public servants in the discharge of their duties, and so on. A gangster faces a minimum sentence of two years in jail, which can be increased to ten years (sec. 3). The rules of evidence have been changed, and the trial court can now establish certain statutory presumptions against the criminals. There is an additional provision for the protection of witnesses. At the request of the public prosecutor, the trial may be held behind closed doors. If the Court so wants, the name and address of a witness may be omitted from the court records. The District Magistrate can seize the gangster’s property if he or she believes it was obtained via illegal conduct. This Act has a broad scope and professes to address a wide range of organised criminal conduct.
There are a number of additional major legislation that address certain aspects of organised crime. Some of them are as follows:
- The Customs Act, enacted in 1962;
- The Narcotics, Drugs, and Explosives Act; and the Narcotics, Drugs, and Explosives Act.
- The Psychotropic Substances Act of 1884;
- The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act of 1956;
- 1973 Foreign Exchange Regulation Act
- The Public Gambling Act of 1867, and so on.
- In addition, the State Government has enacted legislation on topics like as excise, prohibition, and gaming, among others.
The National Security Act of 1980 authorises preventative detention by the Central Government, State Governments, or personnel designated by this Government. The detention order is given for a year in order to prevent a person from behaving in any way that may jeopardise India’s defence or good ties with foreign states. An Advisory Board led by a sitting High Court judge must authorise the detention. The phrase “security of India” is susceptible to interpretation, and this Act has been utilised, although rarely, against anti-national groups and hard-core gangsters. Detention is an executive measure, and the matter is not heard in court. The illicit trafficking of narcotic narcotics and psychotropic substances endangers people’s health and welfare, and the activities of those involved in such illegal traffic have a destabilising influence on the national economy. Detention is provided for under the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1988. The Central Government, the State Government, or designated officers of these governments may issue an order detaining a person in order to prevent him from engaging in illicit drug trafficking. The confinement can be for one year, but it can be extended to two years under specific conditions. As a result, India has legislation strewn about in numerous statutes to deal with various aspects of organised crime. The present rules, however, fall well short of what is required to combat the threat. The Indian government is aware of this and has drafted the Organized Crime Control Act.
The proposed Act defines ‘Organised Criminal Gang’ in a fairly broad sense, including the majority of the important terms.
Typical characteristics of organised crime A gang is defined as “a group of two or more people who commit or attempt to commit or cause to be committed, either individually or collectively, in furtherance of a common object or objects on a continuing basis, for material gain or otherwise, by resorting to the use or display of violence or threat of violence, either direct or implied, or by fraudulent means.”
Murder, bodily injury, smuggling, drug trafficking, abduction for ransom, espionage, triggering bomb explosions, aeroplane hijacking, hostage-taking, mass-murdering, contract killing, gang rapes, extortion, and other significant crimes are included in Schedule I.
Profile of some Organised Criminal Cases
Since ancient times, criminal gangs have operated in India. Thugs’ groups frequently preyed on travellers or wayfarers when travelling lonely regions amid dense rainforests. Thugs travelled in bands, large or small, typically unarmed and disguised as pilgrims, ascetics, or other innocent wayfarers.
Dawood is the most powerful of the Bombay criminals, with national and international connections. He is one of the most powerful criminals involved in transnational crimes, namely drug trafficking, smuggling, extortion, and contract killing. He has been a resident of Dubai since 1985. He experienced a meteoric climb in a short period of time. As the son of a Bombay Crime Branch Head Constable, he began as a small criminal and had Bombay Police sympathies owing to his father’s connections.
The Arun Gawli Gang
His group is involved in contract killings and the collecting of protection money from wealthy businesspeople.
Types of Organised Crimes
1. Ransom Kidnapping
Kidnapping for ransom is a well-organized crime in metropolitan areas. There are various local and inter-state gangs active since the financial advantages outweigh the labour and risk required.
2. Contract Homicides
Murder is a capital offence punished by life in jail or death under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. In murder trials, the conviction rate is around 38%. Contract killings have a very low risk of being discovered. Contract killings are carried out by employing a professional gang for a monetary reward.
3. Drug Addiction and Trafficking
It is the country’s most significant organised crime, and it is genuinely multinational in nature. India is strategically located between the nations of the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent, and it serves as a transit hub for narcotic substances manufactured in these regions to the West. India also produces a significant amount of licit opium, a portion of which makes its way into the illegal market in various ways. In India, the illicit drug trade revolves around five principal substances: heroin, hashish, opium, cannabis, and methaqualone. Cocaine, amphetamine, and LSD seizures are not uncommon, though they are minor and infrequent.
Another important economic infraction is smuggling, which consists of clandestine operations leading to unrecorded transactions. The level of smuggling is determined by the type of the government’s budgetary policy. The kind and quantity of smuggled commodities are also affected by the fiscal policies in place. India has a 7,500-kilometre-long coastline and porous borders with Nepal and Bhutan, making it vulnerable to large-scale smuggling of contraband and other consumable commodities. Though it is impossible to estimate the number of contraband products transported into this nation, the value of contraband confiscated can provide some insight into the scale of smuggling, even if it represents a very small per cent of total smuggling.
5. Hawala & Money Laundering
Money laundering is the process of converting unlawful and ill-gotten money into supposedly legal money in order for it to be absorbed into the legitimate economy. The proceeds of drug-related crimes are a major source of money laundering all around the world. Furthermore, tax evasion and violation of exchange restrictions play a significant part in blending this ill-gotten money with tax evaded income to conceal its origin. This is often accomplished through the laborious stages of placement, layering, and integration, so that the money so integrated into the legitimate economy may be freely utilised by criminals without fear of detection. Money laundering is a severe danger to countries’ criminal justice systems as well as their sovereignty across the world.
Control Efforts have Issues
1. Inadequate Legal Framework
Combating organised crime has a number of challenges. To begin with, India lacks a dedicated law to control/suppress organised crime. As an ongoing conspiracy, instances of organised crime are prosecuted under general conspiracy law and appropriate particular statutes. The current law is insufficient since it focuses on individuals rather than criminal groups or criminal organisations. Conspiracies develop in the shadows, and proving them in court is a tremendous undertaking.
2. Difficulties in Obtaining Evidence
Because organised criminal gangs are hierarchical in nature, the upper tiers of leadership are shielded from police enforcement. It may be feasible to convict the actual perpetrators of crime, but it is difficult to go beyond them in the hierarchy due to evidentiary regulations, notably the inadmissibility of confessions made by offenders before they are convicted. Witnesses are unwilling to testify because they fear for their life, and there is no law to protect witnesses from organised gangs. The informers are reluctant to come forward since there is a stigma linked to being an ‘informer.’
3. A scarcity of Resources and Training
The police are the subject of the State in our constitutional framework. The investigation of cases, their prosecution, and the establishment of criminal tribunals is the duty of each state government. Most states are facing a budget constraint and are unable to provide appropriate funding to criminal justice system agencies. The number of police officers stationed in police stations is insufficient. Furthermore, there are few training facilities for investigating organised crime.
4. Criminality on both counts
National borders are not respected by criminal syndicates. Certain crimes, notably drug trafficking, are planned in one location and carried out in another. Criminals also migrate quickly from one section of the world to the next. Various countries have different legal systems. In one nation, an act may be considered a criminal, but not in another. Money laundering, for example, is a felony in the United States and some European nations but not in India.
5. Coordination Deficit
There is no national-level entity in India that coordinates the operations of state/city police organisations as well as central enforcement authorities in combatting organised crime. Furthermore, no agency exists to gather, consolidate, analyse, document, and serve as a clearinghouse for information pertaining to transnational and inter-state gangs operating in India and overseas. Similarly, at the national and state levels, there is no structure of systematic pursuit of selected gangs. Aside from a lack of institutional framework, there are coordination issues between the Central Government and the State Governments, as well as between one State Government and another State Government, due to variations in political attitudes.
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