After a city-wide crackdown against rowdies, Bengaluru police on Thursday morning raided the homes of foreigners living in Bengaluru. According to the Central Crime Branch (CCB) raids were conducted in several parts of the city and were based on specific inputs.
During the raids, 38 foreigners were detained for not having valid documents and seven were detained on charges of overstaying. “The officials also found marijuana and 90 ecstasy pills from two foreigners. They have been arrested,” said Sandeep Patil, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime). 65 homes were searched by a team of six ACPs, 20 police inspectors and over 100 police constables, read a statement from the CCB.
The raids come after Bengaluru police had announced that it will book house owners if tenants were found involved in narcotics cases. The top brass of the city police had issued directions to all police stations, after several instances of landlords not verifying documents of foreign nationals before renting out their property had come to the fore. “In many cases, this is done with the knowledge that they were staying illegally, in order to get more rent,” said a senior CCB official.
As many as 70 foreign nationals were arrested in 2020 under Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS) in comparison to 44 in 2018 and 38 in 2019. The number of arrested persons in 2020 under the NDPS Act increased by 200% last year. According to the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO), Bengaluru, there are more than 800 foreigners overstaying in the city.
In a recent case, after two Nigerian nationals were arrested for possession of 55 grams of cocaine worth ₹4.7 lakh, police tracked down the owner of their house in Ramamurthy Nagar. A notice was issued to them asking for information about the duo’s visa and passport details collected while renting out the premises. 15 more landlords in east Bengaluru have been issued similar notices, said SD Sharanappa, deputy commissioner of police, east.
In 2019, the Karnataka government had constructed a detention centre in the outskirts of Bengaluru after home minister Basavaraj Bommai told the Karnataka assembly that a survey of illegal foreigners will be conducted and those found violating the norms, would be lodged here before deportation. Located in Sondekoppa village near Nelamangala in Bengaluru Rural district, this is the first detention centre to be opened in the state. The facility has detained 30-40 people till now. However, a police officer said the police department wants to deport them at the earliest than filing charge sheets against them.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior police officer said that filing a case would require those overstaying, especially those caught for drug trafficking, to remain in the city. “If a charge sheet is filed and they are sent to court, they have to remain in the city till the case is over. In case they come out of bail, they would continue to indulge in criminal activities. So, we have been proposing to deport them at the earliest after dropping charges and blacklisting them from entering the country again,” said the officer.