Current Affairs


  • After cracking down on drug trafficking being conducted through ‘darknet’ recently, the NCB is set to freeze about 500 Bitcoins in the accounts of traffickers, first ever seizure of virtual, unregulated currency in a criminal probe in country.
  • The central agency, the nodal department to combat drug trafficking and liaise with multiple narcotics control and enforcement agencies, has interdicted and begun investigation against three syndicates in the country till now and in one case detected in western India, it is moving to seize Bitcoins.
  • Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is working on the legal aspects of the case to seize about 400-500 Bitcoins as part of its criminal investigation under Narcotic Drugs and Physchotropic Substances Act (NDPS) besides a few other laws.
  • Bitcoins have never been frozen as part of the tainted assets seizure. Bitcoin is equivalent to about Rs. 1 crore in the Indian currency.
  • The case pertains to the trafficking of drugs and narcotic supplements over the cryptic form of internet called ‘Darknet’ using the illegal payment method of Bitcoins to thwart detection by investigative agencies.
  • ‘Darknet’ refers to the clandestine internet network which can only be accessed with specific software, configurations and authorisation and is difficult to track using usual communications protocols and ports, while Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that allows consumers to make electronic transactions by skipping the legal banking channels.
  • Use of modern tools to deal in illict drug trading is a worrying development and the NCB has further widened its probe to look for such transactions happening within the country or with connections from foreign shores.
  • Latest trends indicated that synthetic drugs were replacing natural and semisynthetic products abused for several decades.
  • The emergence of ‘Darknet’ and Bitcoins is seen as an extension by anti-narcotics sleuths of the illegal internet pharmacies peddling drugs.
  • The online pharmacies transmit orders from customers to agents in India who then procure the medicines from either legitimate or illegitimate sources before dispatching them to customers by post or courier.