Transnational Organized Crimes: India; A Battleground

Transnational Organized Crimes

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The article provides an insight into the form and factors concerning Transnational Organized Crimes and analyses the hurdles in achieving the prevention of the same, as well as provides suggestions with regard to the curbing of Transnational Organized Crimes.

I. Introduction – Transnational Organized Crimes

Considering the recent ages the word “Crime” seems to have outgrown its standards and boundaries, its growth catalyzed by a number of factors from both National and International fronts. Hence, the term “Transnational Crime” could generally be inferred as the conduct that is illegal and violates laws of more than one nation in its operation, be it through planning, or execution or even consequence.

The term is more often used in criminology and related academic communities along with the law enforcement authorities. The concept first came into existence when the United Nations in the mid-1970s applied it to name certain criminal activities that crossed national jurisdictions. In 1995 the UN identified and defined it as “offences whose inception, prevention and/or direct or indirect effects involved more than one country.”[1] The term though not specifically, but is an umbrella term giving shelter to a number of crimes.

 As rightly pointed out by Fijnaut, the term is a “general-purpose concept that contains many different types of crime, including organized, corporate, professional and political crime.”[2] Before entering into the concept, it is necessary to note that there is a thin lining that differentiates between ‘Transnational’ and ‘International’ crimes. While the later concerns crimes against humanity at par that may or may not involve more than one country, Transnational Crimes are sure to transcend the boundaries.

 Now, branching out the Transnational ‘Organized’ Crime from the genus, we might consider the event of Criminal Organizations/groups that undermine state authority and the rule of law by fuelling corruption, compromising elections and hurting the legitimate economy.[3]  Therefore, what can be affirmed strongly here is that the Organized Crimes have spread their wings, and before it is late, curbing is necessary.

Now what leads to more and more people getting involved in such type of crimes can be understood by the mere statement that these include ‘High Profits and Low Risks’ and unless this link burns, there is a mere to no chance of curbing. As the approach regarding the issue has stayed the same since forever, there is a need to change it or we can say redirect it.

Coming to our country India, given the widening distance between aspirations and their accomplishment, the principles of Transnational Organized Crime as well as Organized crime has been attracting a tactful percentage of the population into the vicious circle while affecting the rest badly.  Nobody is unaware of the criminal groups that have been practicing the same, and have also managed to escape the law, for example, National media these days has been constantly showing about the network of drug peddlers and dealers.

 Hence, identifying the contributing factors and problems in combating the same are important to strategize and redirect the approach of fighting TOC[4].

II.Analysis

A. Types

The TOCs prevalent in India are a wide range of activities, but can be categorized into three:

  • Illicit Goods (that may range from smuggling to trafficking to counterfeiting, etc).
  • Illicit Services (including flesh trade, human trafficking and commercial sex, Contract Killing, Abduction, etc).
  • Infiltration of business and Government (cybercrimes, fraud, money laundering and corruption, etc).

Therefore, as far as India is concerned the unconventional definition of TOCs would be a, no. of people bound together to fulfil their aspirations of a common illegal purpose and are involved in similar illicit business activities beyond boundaries.

B. Factors of growth

The following can be said to have escalated the growth of TOCs in India:

  1. Poverty
  2. Unemployment
  3. Corruption
  4. Poor Governance
  5. Lack of Education
  6. Globalization
  7. Geo-Strategic Location

India’s strategic location: an apple for Transnational Organized Crimes

Since a very long time, transnational organized crimes have been a vital issue in India. Being originated through various social stigmas, these crime rates are increasing at an alarming rate despite the measures taken through laws and police actions.

These criminals perform in ‘gangs’ through their networking with multiple regions. In India mainly, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh experience a larger scale of these transactions. Mumbai is one of the most financially developed cities in India possess a vast sea line channel through with many TOC activities are being carried on lucratively.

The geographic conditions of India give a big helping hand in carrying out these crimes. For example

  • “India’s open border with Nepal and Bhutan along with the coastline of 7,500km,”[5] supports smuggling of illegal goods at a rate which is even difficult to estimate.
  • India’s location between the nations of Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle is a pass-through point for drugs like hashish, opium, heroin and cannabis which are smuggled to the west.
  • “Areas like Calcutta, Bombay and Pune, Delhi consists of around 1,000,000 and 40,000 brothels respectively”[6] which are now the hotspots of prostitution. Thus connecting them with various kinds of flesh trade and supplies of young girls.
  • Due to unemployment, a large number of Indian Citizens travel to Gulf countries via illegal passages resulting in illegal migration.
  • Having an insecure border with Pakistan, India is in a vulnerable position in the case of smuggling hazardous, cheap technological gadgets and criminals between both the countries.

These criminal transactions are generally carried out through a well functioned ‘gang’ established in specific areas in accordance with the type of crime involved in.

The major Transnational Organized Crimes groups in India consists of-

  • Dawood Ibrahim Gang– originated in Mumbai and now is the most dreaded mafia, this gang has connections throughout the whole country including officials and politicians. Operating from Dubai Dawood carry out drug and arms trafficking, extortion, contract killing etc. His agencies have around 20000 million turnovers annually from India.
  • Chota Rajan Gang– A parted member of Dawood’s gang indulges mainly in drug trafficking and contract killing also based in Mumbai.
  • Babloo Shrivastava Gang– mainly involved in contract killings and kidnapping for ransom through hawala from foreign countries.
  • Goa mafia– consists of foreign organized criminals mainly from China, Pakistan, Thailand and some European countries. Mainly involved in the international drug trade.
  • Punjab mafia– includes local and Uttar Pradesh organized criminals mainly involved in illegal land grabs, kidnappings, contract killings and abduction. Also associated with Indo-Canadian organized crime.

C. Laws enacted in India to curb Transnational Organized Crimes

Though India has successfully enacted and enforced various stringent laws regarding this issue, still they aren’t proving to be much effective nationwide as there is no proper central legislation particularly for ‘gang activities’.

  1. Laws provided in Indian Penal Code-
  • Section 120-B – punishment for criminal conspiracy.
  • Section 395 – punishes with life imprisonment or rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years and 5 months regarding Dacoity.
  • Section 399 – criminalist preparation to commit Dacoity.
  • Section 400 – criminalization of word “gang”, associated with habitual dacoities.
  • Section 364-A – punishment for kidnapping for ransom.
  1. Acts under the Constitution of India –
  • The National Security Act 1980[7] – It empowers both Central and State Govt. to enforce one-year detention upon anti-nationalists and gangsters and directly acts as an executive action.
  • The Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1988[8].
  • Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1973.
  • Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1956.
  • The Public Gambling Act, 1867.
  1. Laws enacted by State Governments –
  • UPCOCA[9]– It is enacted with the view to control the acts of organized crimes also known as mafia, who are generally involved in smuggling of illegal medicines and wildlife, extortions/abductions, illegal mining and land grabs.
  • MCOCA[10] – It acts the same way to control the illicit activities by gangsters inside the state.
  • Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986 – It defines ‘gang’ and controls their activities inside the state.

III. Identifying Problems:  Loopholes in the system for an effective curbing of Transnational Organized Crimes

  1. Corrupt Authorities – The growth of various organized crimes happens mostly due to their link with bureaucrats, officials and politicians of India. In this era of corruption, these people provide safety and chances of committing crimes in return of heavy bribe sums. Thus, the guardians of our prescribed laws and regulations themselves auction it for the criminals to exploit. This also includes the very basic structure of regulation i.e. police authorities.
  2. Irregular judiciary – There has been a very low rate of convictions for the criminals when they are forwarded to the judiciary. Thus, encouraging such criminal groups to boldly expand their activities. Judiciary in India is severely understaffed, thus making it difficult for effective enforcement of crimes. ”Indeed, India is ranked the fourth least efficient system of justice globally”[11]
  3. Inadequate Governance – This acts as a pest for the prescribed laws of India. Nevertheless, how stringent the written acts might be, but with poor governance, justice is strangulated enough to give a free pass to criminal gang activities.” India is ranked in the category of high-risk nations having a very poor decision-making mechanism”[12]
  4. No centralized special laws – The Centre hasn’t yet drafted any specialized laws regarding the seizure of transnational organized crimes in India except some states like Maharashtra and UP who have their own laws, enforceable only inside the state. “The existing general conspiracy law and relevant special acts law is inadequate as it targets individuals in general and not the criminal groups or criminal enterprises.”[13] Thus the existing laws only give an overview of enforcement making the trials to continue longer than required strangulating justice in its way.
  5. Problems in collecting and accessing proof – Many times people due to fear of losing their lives or livelihood try not to get involved in such matters and keep things to themselves, not disclosing information that could lead to any kind of revelation.
  6. Scapegoats in the hands of authorities– It is sometimes seen that in order to deceive the judicial system and also to keep deeper secrets hidden smaller ones are deliberately made to come to the front so that the real deals are kept hidden from the eyes of both system and common people.
  7. Lack of Training and Co-ordination– Most of the times failure in combating such offences can be held an outcome of the lack of proper training on the part of officials who deal with a similar issue, provided there is no such proper national institution that would be responsible for controlling and regulating the prevention of such activities.

IV. Suggestions

Going through the above problems, the following would be our suggestions:

  1. Central Legislation with stringent Punishment: A Central Legislation dealing with all the three segments of TOC should come into force after a proper draft.
  2. Proper Demarcation of Borders: Open borders pose problems greater in intensity than that can be cured. The unguarded yet inhabited places should be provided with proper awareness of the activities going on as well so that timely and effective surveillance could be done.
  3. Address the issue of escaping: Investigations should reach the roots and not just the skin, every link should be busted and the process should not stop just with seizure or arrest of one.
  4. Port Security: Securities at non-recognized or unofficial ports should be made available.
  5. IT laws: The Information Technology Act should include the punishments for such communications made with regard to TOC and related activities as well. Networks are to be identified through regular assessments.
  6. Intermediaries check: Public Places like parks and market complexes should be vigilantly observed because most meetings with regard to TOC happen in these areas.
  7. Awareness: Educational Institutions should inculcate programs like AEP, to make students aware of the loss due to drug abuse, and punishments for all such related activities.
  8. Cyber cell at every place: Every district should have a cyber cell to keep local cybercafes under check.
  9. Patrolling group-employment: In border areas, a separate patrolling group should be recruited that would work alongside the army but whose work would be limited to searching goods that are being taken beyond boundaries or brought back.
  10. Hotspot recognition apps: Mobile apps could be made to make people aware of hotspots of smuggling or trafficking, etc basing on police reports and files.
  11. Curbing Faults in Judiciary: Judicial processes need to be fast and less lenient towards habitual offenders. Seeking more evidence on matters already proved earlier is a sheer waste of time of Court.
  12. Checks at places of production of NDPS (legal or illegal): The plantation and production of such substances should be license controlled and regularly checked as well.
  13. Recruiting Students secretly as prefects: Authorities should recruit student prefects by collaborating with educational institutions for reducing youth’s participation in preparation and conduct of such TOCs.
  14. Rehab Centre: People usually are wary of these, but the Rehab facilities should also be kept in check by some different organ-like CWC[14] and DCPU[15].
  15. Regional Organization: Asian Countries: Regionally, Countries should come together and share training methodologies as well as resources at times keeping recent changes in mind.

V. Conclusion

It is dreadful enough for the human civilization to have these organized crimes between us, day by day demolishing lives, families and financial securities of common people. The authorities assigned to combat criminals and protect our sanctity are themselves elbow down in this sewer. Drug-abuse can easily destroy a future, human trafficking is as horrid as it sounds treating lives like stocks.

Technical growth and globalization are a boon for all including these organized crimes, freely connecting the whole world and spreading their illegal business and making threats. It is surely a long run to uproot crime and criminals, but it has to begin somewhere, sincerely and effectively to make a valid example.


[1] UN Doc.A.CONF.169/15/Add.1(1995).

[2] Fijnaut, ‘Transnational Crime and the role of the United Nations’, 8 European Journal of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice (2000) 119, at 120

[3] United Nations and the Rule of Law, ‘Transnational Organized Crime’, Para 24.

[4] Transnational Organized Crime.

[5] Jyosna, D.(2012) “Organized crime in India”, OverBlog, 25 Sept.

[6] Study by Indian Health Organisation

[7] “Preventing a person from acting in any manner prejudicial to the defense of India, or to the friendly relations with foreign powers.”

[8] “Detention of persons related with illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.”

[9]  Uttar Pradesh Control of Organized Crimes Act

[10] Maharashtra Control of Organized Crimes Act.

[11] Transnational Organized Crime In India: A New Framework Of Analysis by Nafiu Ahmed.

[12] Maplecroft survey: TOC in India

[13] Organized crimes in India: an overview by ForumIAS

[14] Child Welfare Committee.

[15] District Child Protection Unit.


Law Library: Notes and Study Material for LLB, LLM, Judiciary and Entrance Exams

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