Senior IPS officer Saji Mohan gets 15 years in jail for possession of heroin
A special court formed under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act on Monday sentenced former Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) zonal director and senior IPS officer Saji Mohan to 15 years imprisonment and imposed a fine of ₹1.5 lakh for possession of heroin in 2009.
His bodyguard constable, Rajeshkumar Kataria, was sentenced to 10 years in jail and has been asked to pay a fine of ₹1 lakh. The third accused, Vicky Oberoi, a Mumbai-based businessman, has been granted pardon.
On January 17, 2009, the Juhu wing of the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) apprehended Oberoi and Kataria from Oshiwara and seized 1.85kg of heroin from them. Oberoi was caught with 1kg, while Kataria was found carrying 850gm heroin.
A week later, the ATS laid a trap and arrested Mohan with a bag containing 12kg of heroin.
Two days later, another consignment with 25kg of heroin was recovered from a room in Naigaon owned by Oberoi’s stepson, which was kept there at the behest of Mohan.
The ATS claimed Mohan brought the drugs from Chandigarh, where he was posted as the zonal director of NCB.
The agency said Mohan had obtained the drugs from the department and was in the process of selling it. The NCB, Chandigarh booked Mohan in a separate case of drug pilferage later.
Special judge Mahavir Mungale, while convicting Mohan, a 1995-batch J&K-cadre officer, observed: “He was a highly qualified IPS officer. He was the zonal director in the Narcotics Control Bureau and was found involved in illicit trafficking of drugs. He is liable for more punishment.”
Mohan and Kataria have been found guilty under section 22 (punishment for contravention in relation to psychotropic substances) and section 29 (punishment for abetment and criminal conspiracy) of NDPS Act.
Special public prosecutor Avdhut Chimalkar relied on evidence from the seizures, along with call data records and transcripts of the conversation between Oberoi and
Mohan. The prosecution examined 23 witnesses, including Oberoi.
After holding the two guilty, the court gave them an opportunity to make submissions on the quantum of sentence. Both the accused pleaded for leniency for several reasons.
Mohan pleaded the court to consider his family condition. “I have lost everything. My conscience is clear. I have been dragged in two cases. Now I have no strength left,” Mohan pleaded, while arguing for leniency.
Meanwhile, Kataria also pleaded for leniency.
Shekhar Bhandary, advocate for Mohan, said, “There were many lacunae in the prosecution’s case. We will soon approach the high court against the verdict.”
Chimalkar told the court that Mohan was previously held guilty in connection with the pilferage case and has been sentenced to imprisonment for 13 years. It was further argued that the High Court has also upheld the conviction awarded by a Chandigarh court.
Kataria has already served the period in jail and will be released once he pays the fine amount.
This is the third case where Mohan has been found guilty. He was also found guilty in a disproportionate assets case.
Mohan had received the gallantry award from ex-president Abdul Kalam for excellent work before his arrest.