Kharar forensic lab scam: Ex-in-charge gets 7-year jail for altering reports
Besides the former laboratory in-charge and employees, the convicts include three Punjab police head constables.cities Updated: Mar 24, 2018 10:22 IST
The court of additional and sessions judge Monika Goyal on Friday sentenced Rajwinderpal Singh, former in-charge of the Kharar forensic science laboratory (FSL), to seven years in jail in connection with a drug test scam.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 2.3 lakh on Rajwinderpal, who was held guilty of preparing fake reports of seized contraband in connivance with his junior colleagues. The contraband is chemically examined to be furnished as evidence in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act cases.
Of the nine others convicted in the case on March 16, eight have been sentenced to four years in jail, while a Class-4 employee of the lab, Darshan Singh, has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison. All convicts were sent to Nabha jail, said Manjit Singh, deputy district attorney, who represented the prosecution in the case.
Besides the former laboratory in-charge and employees, the convicts include three Punjab police head constables, who were all held guilty under Sections 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Rajwinderpal Singh was the in-charge and assistant chemical examiner at the lab when the scam came to light in 2014. Others guilty include laboratory analyst Shingara Ram, lab employees Gurjant Singh, Lekh Raj, Class-4 employees Jagdeep Singh and Darshan Singh, computer operator Parveen Arora, and head constables Hardev Singh, Rakesh Kumar and Ashwini Kumar.
How case unfolded
The Shambu police station in Patiala district on July 11, 2012, booked Vinay Kumar and Karu Lal, both natives of Madhya Pradesh, under the NDPS Act, after recovering 20kg of opium and 100 gram of heroin from them.
The accused had hired advocate Harish Ahuja to represent them in court. Samples of the drugs seized were sent to the Kharar FSL, where its then in-charge Dr Rajwinderpal was good friends with Harish.
According to police, Harish assured the accused of getting a negative report from the Kharar FSL in exchange of Rs 6 lakh, of which Rs 2.5 lakh were paid to Dr Rajwinderpal to tamper with the sample report.
In a similar case unearthed in Fazilka, Ferozepur, reported in FIR number 52/12, some money was transferred in the account of laboratory’s Class-4 employees Jagdeep and Darshan to change the sample report from positive to negative.
Following the detection of these cases, the Punjab and Haryana high court court ordered revaluation, and the samples were sent to Central CFSL in Chandigarh, where all reports turned out to be positive.
Besides, the high court entrusted the Vigilance Bureau (VB) with the task of probing the functioning of the Kharar FSL.
Investigation led the VB to detect more than 200 such negative reports, soon zeroing in on Dr Rajwinderpal. The probe also revealed that the accused lab employees allegedly used to tamper with the drug reports with the help of junior assistant Rajesh Mishra, while Class-4 employees Darshan and Jagdeep negotiated with the cops on the money to be charged.