Drug lab scam: three accused still at large
Despite the Punjab and Haryana high court's denial of anticipatory bail to Dr Rajwinderpal Singh, the main accused in the drug lab scam, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (VB) has failed to arrest him.
A co-accused, Mohit, a Class-4 employee, had surrendered on December 18, while two others, lab technician Lekh Raj and junior assistant Rajesh Mishra, are still at large. Mohit is in judicial custody after his two-day police remand.
Dr Rajwinderpal, whose anticipatory bail plea was dismissed by the HC on December 13, and the others are accused of faking sample reports during chemical analysis of drugs seized from across the state. The analysis was done at the government health department's lab at Kharar. The FIR was registered on November 11 under the Prevention of Corruption Act and various sections of the Indian Penal Code at the Mohali VB police station.
VB officials confirmed that they had detected 236 lab test reports where samples of seized drugs such as opium, smack and heroin were found 'negative'.
The VB had on December 21 submitted its "status report" on the case in a sealed cover in the high court. The court had entrusted the bureau with the inquiry into fake chemical analysis reports of drug samples on October 11.
VB sources told HT that some more names in the health department and also from the police had surfaced while probing the connivance of cops with department employees.
Not suspended yet
The health department is yet to suspend the four accused in the case. Principal secretary, health, Vini Mahajan reiterated that the department was yet to take any action. "Since the matter is under investigation (at the VB level), we are awaiting its outcome," she said.
Transfer of control
The file on transferring control of the Kharar lab from the health department to the home department, as per the high court order, is lying with deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal, who also holds the home portfolio.
Senior officials in the home department had cited the court's direction, besides the principal secretary, health, Vini Mahajan's consent, for the transfer of the lab's control while forwarding the case to Sukhbir earlier this month, sources said.
The move came in the wake of the high court's December 6 order, in which justice Paramjit Singh observed that "no decision has (so far) been communicated to the health department by the home department with regard to taking over the control of the state chemical laboratory".
The principal secretary, health, had submitted in the court that the possibility of tampering with samples of seized drugs under investigation could not be ruled out.
"All the material is sent for analysis by the police to the medical officer for preparing the reports. The investigating agencies are under the control of the home department," the health secretary had submitted.
"There is a problem regarding the maintenance of secrecy of samples as these are forwarded by the police authorities by mentioning the FIR number and the detailed particulars of the case. The same are retained in the state chemical laboratory as such. Although a board has been constituted by the lab examiner to ensure that the sample is not tampered with before analysis, the possibility of its tampering during transit i.e. time period between the initial point till reaching the lab, cannot be ruled out," the principal secretary had submitted in the high court.
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