The Bombay High Court has recently allowed the Mumbai Police Crime Branch to retest the samples of a substance found at the residence and in the locker of dismissed police head constable Dharmaraj Kalokhe.
In 2015, Kalokhe was arrested after 112 kg of a substance alleged to be ephedrine was found in his Lonavala residence. Another 12 kg of the powder was seized from his locker in Marine Drive police station, where he was then posted. Reports from the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Mumbai and Pune, however, confirmed the substance to be monosodium glutamate, or ajinomoto.
The HC has now directed the samples to be tested by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL).
Justice Prakash D Naik observed: “The accused being a public servant, re-sampling will not only help the court but also build the confidence in general public that the investigating agency is not biased when the offence is committed by their own policeman.” The court said it was also essential that all accused be brought to book and the entire racket or chain be apprehended.
“This is indeed an exceptional case where huge quantity of drug was recovered from the police station,” Justice Naik said.
The Crime Branch’s application seeking permission to send another batch of samples for retesting was denied by a special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) Court on August 17, 2015. Kalokhe’s arrest had led to the arrest of Shashikala, alias Baby Patankar, an alleged supplier of mephedrone, a party drug popularly known as meow-meow, as well as several people who were part of the supply chain. Five other police officers, including a senior police inspector with the Anti Narcotics Cell, were subsequently arrested.
The court noted: “The price of Sodium Glutamate is Rs 40 per keg, whereas the statement of witness mentions that respondent No 3 (Patankar) has sold gold worth Rs 80,00,000, when she was accompanied by accused No 2 (Patankar’s son Satish). The sources of such income is suspicious. Thus, it is inferred that the accused is indulging in sale of contraband MD and not Sodium Glutamate. Hence, re-sampling is necessary.”