The Yogi Adityanath government on Wednesday gave its nod to a new law against organised crime in Uttar Pradesh along the lines of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). At a meeting presided by the Chief Minister, the State cabinet approved the Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Act, 2017.The BJP government is expected to introduce the proposed legislation in the Winter Session of the State Assembly, which commences from Thursday. The government said the UPCOCA was brought to check and curb acts of oganised crime and mafia, including land grabs, illegal mining, sale of illegal medicine and illicit liquor, wildlife smuggling, extortion, abduction syndicates as well as white-collared criminals. The draft of the proposed law, which could be tabled in the Assembly soon, was prepared in consultation with the State Law Department and after an “intensive study” of MCOCA, Cabinet Minister Shrikant Sharma said. A similar law was passed by the Uttar Pradesh government in 2007-08 when Mayawati was in power but it had to be withdrawn after then President Pratibha Patil refused to give it assent. Shrikant Sharma, U.P. Cabinet Minister, said it was the BJP government’s “priority” to make the State “free from injustice, crime and fear, and establish the rule of law.”Under the UPCOCA, the State would be empowered to seize the property of those implicated by the law during the period of investigation and properties acquired by people through illegal activities and organised crime would also be seized. State security would also be withdrawn from persons booked under the the law. Special courts would be set up for the trial of cases under UPCOCA for speedy conclusion. “Criminals will not be able to roam free for too long,” said Mr. Sharma.The government is introducing the UPCOCA when it already has a stringent law to check crime syndicates, the Gangsters Act. However, the UPCOCA would have 28 provisions in addition to the Gangsters Act.S.R Darapuri, retired IPS officer, was critical of the UPCOCA. He said the present laws were sufficient to deal with crimes in UP and there was no need for a special Act. Mr. Darapuri also said that the general experience was that “all such laws were misused against the weeker sections of the society,” in particular Dalits and Muslims.”These Special Acts do not help much in controlling crime. The need is for the existing laws to be implemented uniformly. There is a tendency to add more laws to cover up failure of the state in implementing existing laws,” Mr. Darapuri told The Hindu.