More than two months after the registration of a case in the Punjab drug lab scam, Dr Rajwinderpal Singh, the main accused, surrendered in the Mohali district court on Tuesday and was taken into custody by the state vigilance bureau (VB). The VB has secured his four-day remand.
The accused, a chemical examiner at the Punjab health department's lab in Kharar, has confessed to having received money from different sources for preparing fake chemical examination reports and tampering with samples of drugs seized from across the state for the past few years, highly-placed sources in the police told Hindustan Times.
Co-accused Lekh Raj, a lab technician, is still on the run, while the other accused Rajesh Mishra, a junior assistant, and Mohit, a Class-4 employee had surrendered earlier.
The VB, which had booked the four accused under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code, is likely to invoke the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act as well in the FIR dated November 11, 2013, for their alleged role in tampering with drug samples and test reports and conniving with those arrested or involved in cases related to drug seizures.
The Punjab and Haryana high court had on Tuesday given its nod to the VB for reviewing 106 samples of seized drugs whose chemical examination reports were allegedly faked by Dr Rajwinderpal. These samples of opium, smack and heroin would now be sent for another chemical examination, as permitted by the high court.
In all, more than 200 such samples whose reports were found negative in the lab records have been mentioned in the two status reports submitted so far in the high court.
Dr Rajwinderpal would now be produced in the Mohali court on Saturday after his four-day remand in the custody of VB sleuths at the Patiala interrogation centre.
He surrendered after the Supreme Court had dismissed his anticipatory bail plea. The petition was opposed by the VB, which had filed a caveat in the apex court.
The VB had registered the case and begun an investigation on the directions of the high court, where a case of one such fake chemical report related to the seizure of 25kg opium had come up for hearing.
The chemical examination of drugs seized by the police, mandatory to furnish evidence against culprits under the law (NDPS Act), is done at the Punjab health department's lab in Kharar, where Dr Rajwinderpal was allegedly found preparing 'negative' reports of such drug samples to benefit the accused drug peddlers.
HOW IT WAS UNEARTHED
One such 'negative' report related to the seizure of 25kg opium was detected as challenged during a hearing in the Punjab and Haryana high court. Its second chemical examination, at a lab outside the health department's jurisdiction, established that the samples were from genuine contraband.
This led the high court to entrust the VB with the task of probing the functioning of the Kharar lab. The VB then detected more than 200 such 'negative' reports, zeroing in on Dr Rajwinderpal.