Expressing concern over the narcotics smuggling into Punjab from Pakistan through the international border, special judge JS Bhinder here on Monday sentenced a Jammu and Kashmir resident Mustaq Ahmad to undergo 15 years' rigorous imprisonment and to pay Rs 1.5 lakh as fine in a contraband smuggling case.
In case he does not pay the fine, he would have to undergo further rigorous imprisonment for two years.
The court also passed strictures against the then station house officer and investigating officer (IO) Lehmbar Singh for not conducting a fair investigation in the poppy husk smuggling case.
"Though a huge quantity of contraband was recovered from Ahmad on August 27, 2009, the IO neither tried to inquire from where it was transported to Punjab nor involved any central agency, like the intelligence bureau, to ascertain the confiscated poppy husk's origin," the judge said.
"It's not possible for the accused to smuggle such a huge consignment. A huge quantity of narcotics is being smuggled from across the border to our country these days. The truck owner was not made an accused in the case.
Had the IO done so, the contraband's origin could have been ascertained. It's possible that the poppy husk might have been smuggled from Pakistan. So there is a serious lapse on the IO's part. The copy of judgment should be sent to the Hoshiarpur senior superintendent of police to take suitable action against the IO, as he didn't bother to arrest the truck owner for reasons best known to him," the court said.
The Sadar police, on receiving information from the intelligence bureau, had intercepted a truck and recovered 42 sacks (about 13 quintals) of poppy husk hidden under cattle hides near the Shergarh byepass naka. Ahmad was driving the truck while two juveniles - Tosif Ahmad and Samim Ahmad - were also on board. All three were arrested as police foiled their attempt to escape.
A case under section 15 of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act was registered. The consignment from Jammu and Kashmir was to be delivered at Chandigarh. The minors are being separately tried in a juvenile court.
The same court also convicted Noormahal resident Rajinder Kaur in another NDPS case and sentenced her to five-year imprisonment and fined her Rs 25,000 for possessing 40-kilogram poppy husk.