Drug offences, unlike most other offences, are committed only with profit motive. One of the strategies to fight drug trafficking is denying the traffickers the fruits of their trafficking. Chapter VA of the NDPS Act provides for forfeiture of such illegally acquired properties. This chapter applies to:
- every person who has been convicted of an offence punishable under this Act with imprisonment for a term of ten years or more;
- every person who has been convicted of a similar offence by a competent court of criminal jurisdiction outside India;
- every person in respect of whom an order of detention has been made under the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988 (46 of 1988), or under the Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988 (J & K Act XXIII of 1988):
Provided that such order of detention has not been revoked on the report of the Advisory Board constituted under the said Acts or such order of detention has not been set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction;
(cc) every person who has been arrested or against whom a warrant or authorization of arrest has been issued for the commission of an offence punishable under this Act with imprisonment for a term of ten years or more, and every person who has been arrested or against whom a warrant or authorization of arrest has been issued for the commission of a similar offence under any corresponding law of any other country.
- every person who is a relative of a person referred to in clause (a) or clause (b) or clause (c) or clause (cc);
- every associate of a person referred to in clause (a) or clause (b) or clause (c) or clause (cc);
- any holder (hereafter in this clause referred to as the "present holder") of any property which was at any time previously held by a person referred to in clause (a) or clause (b) or clause (c) or clause (cc); unless the present holder or, as the case may be, anyone who held such property after such person and before the present holder, is or was a transferee in good faith for adequate consideration.
- Every officer empowered under section 53 and every officer in-charge of a police station shall, on receipt of information, proceed to trace and identify the illegally acquired properties (section 68E).
- The officer may issue an order seizing the properties and if it is not possible to seize, freezing the properties. He shall send a copy of the order within 48 hours to the Competent Authority.
- The Competent Authority has to confirm the order within 30 days, else, it will not be valid.
- The Competent Authority issues a Notice to the affected person and after considering the reply and other records of the case, passes an order forfeiting the properties or otherwise.
- If the person is only arrested, the issue of Notice and subsequent forfeiture will proceed only after his conviction or after an order of preventive detention is issued.
- The Burden of Proving that the properties are NOT illegally acquired is on the affected person.
- Appeals against the orders of forfeiture lie with the Appellate Tribunal for Forfeited Properties.
- Seized or forfeited properties are managed and disposed by the Administrators as per Illegally Acquired Property (Receipt, Management and Disposal) Rules. So far the Government of India appointed officers as Competent Authority cum Administrator.