Punjab and Haryana High Court raps cops for shielding culprits in drug case - ECAS Punjab

Punjab and Haryana High Court raps cops for shielding culprits in drug case

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Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has rapped the Punjab Police for a "sinister design to shield the real culprits" in a drugs case before ordering reinvestigation by a special team, to be constituted by the state Director General of Police (DGP). The team of "senior officers" was directed to be headed by a reputed Inspector General of Police-level officer.

The direction by Justice Fateh Deep Singh came after the Bench took note of the fact that the registered owner of a truck, allegedly used for transporting the contraband, had moved an application before the court concerned in Moga for the vehicle's release on "supardari".

But the police recorded statements of a stamp vendor and a notary public to show that the truck was given on lease to the accused-petitioner by the actual owner. In an attempt to further "cement the same", the police also secured the registered owner's affidavit to substantiate the fact of lease.

The matter was brought to the High Court's notice by Amritpal Singh. He was seeking regular bail in an FIR registered on August 30, 2019, under provisions of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act at Nihal Singh Wala police station in Moga district.

The prosecution had alleged that the police received a tip-off on the sale of poppy husk in Moga district after it was transported from another state. Acting on the information, the truck, being driven by petitioner Amritpal Singh, was allegedly searched and poppy husk recovered.

After arguing at length, the petitioner's counsel sought permission to withdraw the petition. Allowing the counsel to withdraw the plea, Justice Fateh Deep Singh asserted it was "apparent to the naked eyes" that the police, for attaining a sinister design and to undo the effects of recovery, showed that they had recorded the statements on leasing of the truck.

"In view of such a contrivance having been noticed by the court and exercising inherent powers under Section 482 of the CrPC, sensing that there has been a scuttled investigation for a motivated cause, impels this court to issue directions to the DGP to constitute a special team...," Justice Fateh Deep Singh said.

Referring to "bigwigs in this nefarious trade, which is ruining the state and every one in it", Justice Fateh Deep Singh said the team would reinvestigate the case from all angles. For the purpose of completing the inquiry, the Bench set a two-month deadline.

HC to work in restrictive mode in Aug too

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today made it clear that the justice delivery mechanism will continue to function in restrictive functioning mode in August as well in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak. The cases fixed for hearing in August have now been adjourned to November and December.

In an order issued by Registrar-General Sanjiv Berry on the behalf of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha, all cases fixed or listed for hearing between August 1 and 31 will mechanically be adjourned, and the interim orders passed in the matters will remain in force till the next date of hearing. These cases would now be listed for further hearing between November 2 and December 1.



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