ORDERING A CBI probe into a drugs case registered against a 28-year-old civil engineer in Amritsar, the Punjab and Haryana High Court said Punjab Police had conducted a “faulty investigation” and “violated” mandatory provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
“Faulty investigation results in miscarriage of justice, but sometimes innocent persons are falsely implicated and the actual accused is acquitted in failure of compliance of those mandatory provisions,” Justice Daya Chaudhary said in the order, while directing the CBI director to appoint an SP-rank officer to probe the case within 8 weeks.
The accused, Abhishek Mittal, had sought a court-monitored CBI investigation into the case which was lodged in November 2016 by the State Special Operation Cell (SSOC) of District Amritsar.
According to the FIR lodged against him, Mittal was accused of being in possession of Rs 39,73,000 worth of “drug money” and 500 gms of heroin. However, Mittal told the court that he has been falsely implicated and is a civil engineer from Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar.
Mittal further told the court that he and his family are pursuing business activities in different fields including with certain traders from Pakistan. The court was told that the money recovered was earnings from his shawl business.
According to his plea in court, Mittal was on his way back to Jalandhar from Amritsar on November 8, 2016, alongwith some cash and a stock of shawls when his vehicle was stopped at the Dhilwan toll plaza by certain persons who took him to the SSOC police station.
A case was later registered against him for allegedly being in possession of heroin and cash. However, police in the FIR mentioned that the recovery was made at Daburji bypass, which is 30 km from Dhilwan. The court was told that the place of arrest can be verified from the call details or tower locations of phones of the accused and concerned police officers.
Justice Chaudhary in the order said it is clear that CCTV footage of the toll plaza and call details of the accused and police officers were not taken into consideration even during the investigation conducted by a senior rank officer, despite the court having issued a direction for the same.
“The CCTV coverage clearly reflects the number and make of the car, but as per the CFSL report, the same has not been shown to be visible.
The contradictions and variations, which are apparent, need to be investigated further,” the court said, adding the CCTV coverage at the Dhilwan toll plaza needs to be looked into.
Justice Chaudhary further said that it is necessary to find out whether Amarjit Singh Bajwa, AIG, Counter Intelligence, and other police officials were deputed at the toll plaza or Daburji bypass when the arrest was made in 2016.