Taken aback to find the office of the chemical examiner, Punjab, conniving with the accused in drug cases by issuing “false reports” for helping them secure bail, the Punjab and Haryana high court has ordered the state vigilance bureau (VB) director to examine the entire record to ascertain in how many cases such reports were issued.
Justice Mehinder Singh Sullar ordered the VB director to fix the responsibility of officers, take legal action against them and submit the status report within a month.
“Such officers are instrumental in helping the accused, completely ignoring the process of law and killing their conscience,” said justice Sullar. He added that it was adversely affecting the administration of justice in general and health of society in particular and needed to be “curbed with a heavy hand.”
The directions came while dismissing a bail petition moved by Karu Lal of Abjalpur village in Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh. Lal is presently in Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh district jail in a case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act after 10kg opium was recovered from him in Patiala in July last year.
The court observed that gangs of smugglers were freely dealing in the illegal trade of narcotics, adopting a variety of illegal methods and could go to any extent to secure bail by corrupt means. “At the same time, it cannot possibly be denied that the tendency and frequency of some public servants to help members of such gangs for extraneous consideration and corrupt practices have been tremendously increasing day by day,” the court said, adding that the matter in hand appeared to be a burning example of such cases.
10kg opium was recovered from Karu Lal in July last year, besides 10-kg opium from co-accused Vinay Kumar and 5-kg opium and 100-gm smack from another accused, Randhir Singh. An FIR was registered on July 11, 2012, at Shambhu police station in Patiala. The opium samples were sent to the office of the chemical examiner at Kharar in SAS Nagar. The assistant chemical examiner, in his report dated August 31, 2012, concluded that the samples only contained morphine to the extent of 0.10%, 0.14% and 0.16%. On the basis of the report, Lal moved the bail petition, stating that since the quantity of morphine was very less, the recovered items did not fall within the definition of opium as per the NDPS Act.
In November last year, the Kapurthala police had arrested Jagdip Singh, a clerk in the chemical examiner’s office at Kharar for his alleged involvement as a middleman in issuing negative results of narcotics seized by the state police.
Appearing for the Punjab government, advocate Raj Preet Singh Sidhu informed the court that raising suspicion on the chemical examiner’s report, the investigation officer opted for re-testing of samples from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Chandigarh. Contrary to the report submitted by the assistant chemical examiner, Kharar, the CFSL office found the quantity of morpine to the extent of 4.18%, 3.07% and 4.13%, on the basis of which the petitioner could not have secured bail.
On this, the court observed that prima facie, it appeared that the petitioner had hatched a criminal conspiracy and obtained a false report in connivance with the assistant chemical examiner. “Such heinous matters deserve to be deeply investigated to bring the real culprits to book,” the court said.