What is ORGANISED CRIME?
Generally speaking, an act that is undertaken by two or more people as a joint endeavor in an organised manner is considered an act of organised crime. As Sellen says “organised crime” resembles those economic adventures or enterprises which are organised to carry on illegal activities. He emphasises further that organised crime is associated with economic activity organised for the aim of carrying out unlawful actions, and that when it operates legal businesses, it does so by means of illicit activity. A persistent criminal conspiracy for profit and power utilising intimidation and corruption and seeking protection from the law, organised crime can involve any group of people that is widely dispersed across nations and seeks to operate outside the control of their government.
The scope of organised crime has expanded to include macroeconomic factors. Mafias are currently a serious international issue and security hazard. Crime feeds corruption, permeates business and politics, and impedes progress. Organised crime includes not only mafia bosses or war lords, but also politicians, civil servants, police officers, and representatives of many other professions. These operations range from extortion rackets to trafficking or smuggling of illicit drugs, humans, firearms, money laundering, counterfeiting, and piracy, among others. The active pursuit of financial and material benefits through illegal means is what drives the organisation of criminal actions and participation in them.
HISTORY OF ORGANIZED CRIME IN INDIA:
Organized crime has existed for many years in practically all societies. To carry out their unlawful activities and break the law, criminals organised themselves into formal or informal gangs. Since independence times, organised crime and criminal gangs have existed in India. In the past, a number of gangs have operated in the Chambal region of Madhya Pradesh and parts of Uttar Pradesh.
Mumbai has long been the battleground for various criminal gangs in their struggle for domination because it is India’s financial centre. From the most sought criminals of the past, like Vardaraj Mudaliyar, Hazi Mastan and Yusuf Patel to Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Rajan, organised crime in Mumbai has a long history.
Nevertheless, a number of legislative initiatives have also given rise to other organised crime patterns. For instance, restrictions on alcohol consumption in the states of Gujarat and Bihar gave rise to bootlegging activities in those states, and bootlegging has since become a lucrative black market industry.
INTERVENTIONS TO TACKLE ORGANISED CRIME: (MCOCA)
The Supreme Court in “Kartar Singh vs State of Punjab (1998)” had stated that the country has been in the iron grasp of increasing terrorist violence and is stuck between lethal pangs of disruptive activities. The MCOCA was particularly designed to address increased crime caused by the underworld.
After being passed by the legislature and receiving the president’s assent, The Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, 1999, became a law. It was the nation’s first state law to deal with organised crime. In the statement of purpose and justification that precedes MCOCA, organised crime is identified as a threat, linked to terrorism and noted for the financial impact that unlawful wealth and black money have on the state’s economy. The act grants the state government exceptional authority to address these problems, including the right to conduct surveillance, loose evidence requirements and procedural protections, and the ability to impose additional criminal punishments, including the capital punishment
The Union government expanded the MCOCA’s applicable to the NCT of Delhi in 2002, and the state of Karnataka adopted it as the Karnataka Control of Organized Crime Act (or “KCOCA”): In a similar vein, Gujarat’s 2019 Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organized Crime Act was unveiled. The Haryana Control of Organized Crime Act, 2019, was likewise introduced by the state of Haryana in response to the need seen by other states.
The goal and justification for these actions by various states was that organised crime had been posing serious threats to society and that its syndicates had connections to terrorist gangs whose sole goal it is to instil fear in the minds of the society’s peace-loving members in order to further some covert goal that is difficult to discern. Organised crime is funded by illicit wealth obtained through extortion, the smuggling of contraband, kidnapping for ransom, money laundering, and other serious crimes. The legislature has created these laws in an effort to stop these crimes before they start or to punish those who commit them as severely as possible.
BY Mohit arora
The author of this paper is an Advocate practicing in Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh.