The number of arrests in the drug lab scam, in which samples of seized drugs were tampered with for preparing ‘negative’ reports to support drug peddlers/smugglers during court cases, has reached 16, including two head constables, even as the Punjab vigilance bureau (VB) is set to arrest more persons in the case, including cops.
Those arrested in the past four months include main accused Dr Rajwinderpal Singh, assistant chemical examiner at the chemical lab of the Punjab health department in Kharar.
Dr Rajwinder pal, who was in charge of the lab, is accused of preparing fake reports of the seized contraband in connivance with his junior colleagues.
Now, the Punjab police have to send second samples of drugs seized in 133 cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
The first samples of these drugs were purportedly reported as negative by Dr Rajwinderpal and his conduits — lab technicians Lekh Raj and Gurjant Singh.
They allegedly used to prepare fake reports with the help of junior assistant Rajesh Mishra, while Class-4 employees Darshan Singh and Jagdeep Singh negotiated with cops involved in the scam.
Others arrested include middlemen Charanjit Singh (a Class-4 employee at the Mohali civil hospital), Manjit Singh, Sandeep Singh and Shinghara Ram.
Besides the 16 arrested, two other accused are Harish Ahuja, a Patiala-based lawyer, and Parveen Arora, who was working as a computer operator at the Kharar lab.
VB officials told HT that the Mohali court was set to issue non-bailable warrants of the duo in view of their non-appearance in the court despite summons served on them earlier.
The VB has filed three challans pertaining to the 18 accused in the Mohalidis-trict court for the framing of charges.
In January, the Punjab and Haryana high court gave its nod to the VB for reviewing samples of seized drugs such as opium, smack and heroin whose chemical examination reports were allegedly faked by Dr Rajwinderpal.
Four months on, the Punjab police have been able to send second samples of only 47 seized drugs of the 133 suspect cases where such samples were duly available.
The VB had earlier this week submitted in the high court that the district police chiefs and also the IGs (inspectors general) concer ned of police zones had been asked “to expedite the testing of these second samples from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL).”
The police in districts, however, are facing problems in getting mandatory court approval for sending second samples of the dubious cases.
While some district courts gave the nod, considering the high court approval, the others adjourned the hearing for approval, citing that there is “no such provision of a re-examination of such samples in the NDPS Act,” a senior VB official here said.
The CFSL recently refused to receive three samples from the Gurdaspur police, citing “inadequate seals” on the sample packets, sources in the forensic lab said.
Of the 48 samples sent so far, 18 were from Gurdaspur police district, five from Amritsar, four each fro m Ferozepur, Sangrur and Nawanshahr, three each from Batala and Jalandhar, two from Fatehgarh Sahib and one each from Tarn Taran, Jalandhar (rural), Pathankot and Bathinda.