Lawyer accused of bribing lab staffer still untraced

  • Prabhjit Singh, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Dec 10, 2014 15:50 IST

Four months after the SAS Nagar district court framed charges against 16 people in the case where seized drug samples were declared failed in a state laboratory to bail out peddlers and smugglers, a key accused, Patiala lawyer Harish Ahoja, remains on the run.

“The hunt for him is still on, and we are also initiating the process of identifying and sealing his immovable property,” a senior investigating official in Punjab Vigilance Bureau said here on Tuesday. The Patiala wing of the bureau had filed the chargesheet in March, naming Ahoja as one of the accused who had bribed chemical examiner Rajwinderpal Singh, one of the 15 people arrested, so far, in the case.

In August, the court framed charges against all accused. The chemical examiner, who is also the scam’s alleged kingpin, is charged with taking huge bribe for submitting false test reports. He had his conduits in the laboratory and the help of other middlemen, the police have said.

The challan stated that in 42 cases, laboratory attendant Jagdeep Singh, also under arrest now, had accepted bribe on behalf of Rajwinderpal and another assistant chemical examiner, Singhara Ram, to tamper with the samples or replace the specimen.

Loose samples given: Analysts

The court has, so far, recorded the evidence of three prosecution witnesses, all chemical analysts in the laboratory, who have accused Rajwinderpal of handing over unsealed or loose samples of drugs for testing. “In one of these cases, he is alleged to have ignored the actual test report and sent a negative analysis to the police station concerned,” a prosecution witnesses stated.

The bureau investigations suggest that Rajwidnerpal Singh violated the drug-testing rules by handing over unsealed samples to his subordinates for examination. The other arrested accused are technician Lekh Raj; retired technician Gurjant Singh; clerk Rajesh Kumar Mishra; Class-4 employee Charanjit Singh; head constables Ashwani Kumar and Rakesh Kumar; and computer operator Parveen Arora. Accused Mandeep Singh and Sandeep Singh are alleged middlemen.

Another accused, Karu Lal, is behind bars in a separate drug case in which the Punjab and Haryana high court had ordered a second sample to be examined and it had tested positive for opium. Proclaimed offender and Patiala lawyer Harish Ahoja was accused of bribing Rajwinderpal Singh for negative report in the Karu Lal case.

The VB had raided the laboratory and come to know of 133 failed samples. It then submitted a report in the high court. These cases are from Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran, Amritsar, Ferozepur, Sangrur, Nawanshahr, Batala, Jalandhar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Jalandhar (rural), Pathankot, and Bathinda police districts.

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