The Maharashtra government has granted Mumbai Police Crime Branch the permission to challenge a decision of a Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) court, which declined the police plea to retest samples from alleged narcotic mephedrone, popularly known as meow meow, seized from a dismissed police constable’s cupboard.
The Crime Branch, which is probing the matter, had earlier approached the state’s law department for permission to challenge the NDPS court’s decision, which declined the retesting plea on August 17.
Following the government’s approval, the Crime Branch is now preparing to file an appeal with Bombay HC to challenge the lower court’s decision. Police said HC’s permission would also be sought for sending a fresh batch of samples to a Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory outside Maharashtra.
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“The proposal was sent last month to the state’s law and judiciary department. We have now received the department’s permission, and are in the process of drafting the appeal in consultation with legal experts. We will seek opinion from our law officers before filing the appeal,” said a senior Crime Branch officer. “We will also seek the court’s permission for sending a second batch of samples to the CFSL in Hyderabad,” he added.
Dharmaraj Kalokhe, a former Head Constable with Marine Drive police, was arrested on March 9 after police seized 112 kg of the alleged narcotic drug from his Lonavala residence. Another 12 kg of the same substance was seized from his locker at the police station.
However, the state forensic sciences laboratories in Pune and Mumbai submitted reports stating the seized substance was Mono Sodium Glutamate (MSG), or ajinomoto. On August 17, the NDPS court rejected the Crime Branch’s plea to retest the samples.
In September, The Indian Express reported that the Crime Branch had decided to appeal against the decision, and had sought the state law department’s permission in this regard. Sources said the investigators believe Shashikala alias Baby Patankar, an arrested accused from whom Kalokhe allegedly got the seized substance, had mixed Mephedrone with MSG, as both have the same colour and texture.