M A I N   N E W S

‘Doctored’ lab reports
Punjab Police revisits suspect drug cases

What gave it away
The alleged nexus came to light after an accused booked under the NDPS Act secured bail using a Kharar laboratory report
The police got the samples retested at the Central Drug Testing Laboratory, Hyderabad, which came out positive
On questioning, the accused named a lab employee, who further told the police Rs 5 lakh was paid for a doctored report
The deals ranged between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 10 lakh, depending upon the quantum of sentence

Amritsar, October 30
The Punjab Police has started reassessing cases wherein narcotic samples were labelled as “failed” or having “diluted narcotic contents” allegedly by certain employees of the government chemical laboratory at Kharar to help drug smugglers.

While the authorities are taking a relook at all “failed samples” of 2013, official records suggest at least 14 such cases were reported in Amritsar (rural), 11 in Gurdaspur, 10 in Tarn Taran and seven in Amritsar City during 2012.

At least 16 cases of doctored reports have surfaced so far this year during the preliminary interrogation of one of the accused involved in the preparation of reports at the Kharar chemical laboratory, run under the Health and Family Welfare Department, Punjab.

While the deal in each case rolled between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 10 lakh, depending upon the quantum of sentence, the deal in the case that blew the lid off the nexus was fixed at Rs 5 lakh.

The police uncovered the nexus after one of the accused, Satnam Singh, booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act for possession of 2 kg heroin, secured bail using a doctored report from the Kharar laboratory.

The police got the samples retested at the Central Drug Testing Laboratory, Hyderabad, which came out positive. Satnam is facing two more cases under the NDPS Act in the Tarn Taran court.

The police interrogated Satnam after procuring a production warrant and learnt about the alleged nexus.

Inspector General of Police (Border Range) Ishwar Chandra Sharma said Satnam was arrested by the Tarn Taran police under an ongoing exercise to re-examine those having a history of smuggling activities from across the Wagah border.

“Satnam led us to Darshan Singh, the class IV employee of the Kharar laboratory,” the officer said.

During interrogation, Darshan confessed to receiving Rs 500 for acting as a conduit and named other key accused working at the laboratory. They included superintendent RK Mishra, assistant chemical examiner Dr Rajwinder Pal Singh and senior laboratory technician Lekh Raj, who used to doctor reports for inducements ranging between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 10 lakh depending upon the severity of crime, the officer said.

He said the breakthrough was the result of a campaign initiated to conduct two-tier examination and questioning of history-sheeters in drug smuggling cases.

“We have so far questioned 46 persons (33 from Tarn Taran and 13 from Majitha) to understand the extent of the network. We are now re-assessing cases that were closed on the basis of laboratory test reports. Sixteen such cases have surfaced so far this year. The details of these cases are being examined,” he said.





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