To give more powers to security forces in controlling crime, law and order in Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi Adityanath government approved the UP Control of Organized Crime Act (UPCOCA) on the lines of MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act).A Bill in this regard was approved by the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet on Wednesday after six-month long deliberations over the provisions of the Act. The Bill will now be tabled at the winter session of the State Legislature, beginning Thursday, for promulgation of the Act. In another important decision, the Cabinet also approved to install bio-metric attendance systems at the Secretariat and other government offices and made bio-metric attendance mandatory for all government employees, including the IAS, IPS and PCS officers. “The State government has accorded top priority to control law and order. The Act is aimed at tightening further noose around criminals in Uttar Pradesh,” said Srikant Sharma, BJP government Spokesperson.The Bill was drafted after studying the provisions made in MCOCA. Stringent measures have been recommended in the bill against those involved in criminal activities, organized crime like running mafia gangs, mine mafia, land grabbing, kidnapping for ransom etc.The Bill provides to confiscate and attach properties acquired through illegal means of criminals and makes provisions for punishment from minimum three years to Capital punishment. It also provides a fine of Rs 5 to 25 lakhs. To break the nexus between the criminals and politicians, it envisages special power to the police. The bill also proposes o extend period of filing chargesheet from 90 days to 180 days.Provisions of UPCOCA could be slapped only after recommendation of the Commissioner or IG rank officials. The state government would also establish special force and UPCOA Courts to expedite such cases. The Principal Secretary Home will personally monitor cases under UPCOA.The Yogi Adityanath government has already launched a massive cfrackdown against criminals in the state. About 30 reward-carrying criminals have so far been shot dead by the police in encounters.“The UPCOCA will give much-required additional powers to the security forces to send criminals to jail and get them punishment in shortest time through the UPCOA Courts,” said a senior police official.The ruling BJP has majority in UP Assembly but ot would be interesting how the Bill is passed in the UP Council, the Upper House, dominated by the opposition Samajwadi Party which had opposed the Bill in 2007 when then Chief Mayawati had tried to introduce it.
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