Three officials of the Punjab Chemical Examiner Laboratory, Kharar - the state's only laboratory for checking narcotic samples - have been booked on the charge of conniving with drug smugglers to give fake chemical reports, even as a sub-inspector of the Punjab Police has been suspended for alleged links with drug peddlers and laboratory officials.
The officials have been identified as Dr Rajwinder Pal Singh, assistant chemical examiner; RK Mishra, superintendent; and Lekh Raj, senior laboratory technician.
The Tarn Taran police registered a case under sections 29, 61 and 85 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and sections 7 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act against the trio, besides Manjit Singh of Tharu village, Harbhal Singh of Sur Singh village (both in Tarn Taran district) and Darshan Singh of Nabha (Patiala). Manjit, Harbhal and Darshan, who have been arrested, allegedly acted as middlemen to facilitate deals between drug smugglers and laboratory officials.
Sub-inspector Lalit Kumar, formerly posted as station house officer (SHO), Sadar police station, Pathankot, has been booked under sections 7 and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and sections 420 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in a case registered at Purana Shala police station, Gurdaspur. He has been placed under suspension and a regular departmental inquiry for dismissal has been instituted against him.
Inspector general (IG, border zone) Ishwar Chander stated that during investigations, the police found that certain employees of the Kharar laboratory were taking bribe to help drug smugglers in NDPS cases.
"Manjit and Harbhal used to strike a deal with drug smugglers, who wanted 'favourable' reports of drug samples from the office of the chemical examiner," Chander said, adding that the nexus was established through Darshan, a Class-4 employee at the Kharar laboratory.
"Manjit and Harbhal were in touch with laboratory officials through Darshan," the IG said.
"A manhunt has been launched to arrest the three officials. Police parties have been despatched for the purpose," said Raj Jit Singh, senior superintendent of police (SSP), Tarn Taran.
On Tuesday, the Tarn Taran police, along with their SAS Nagar cops, raided Lekh Raj's house in Kharar, but he was not at home.
SAS Nagar deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Rajinder Singh Sohal, who assisted the Tarn Taran police, said the accused use to charge Rs 1-10 lakh for tampering with drug samples.
"A preliminary interrogation of the three persons arrested has provided evidence of tampering in 11 cases," the SSP said.
Meanwhile, IG Ishwar Chander said investigations had revealed that sub-inspector Lalit Kumar was involved with drug smugglers and laboratory officials.
"Lalit Kumar was instrumental in obtaining 'sample failed' reports from the laboratory. Raids are being conducted to nab him," the IG added.