Shopian Judge Orders Probe Against Revenue Officials For Shielding Drug Smugglers

SRINAGAR: The district and sessions judge in Shopian has ordered the police to conduct a high-level investigation against four revenue officers, including a tehsildar, for being in league with narcotics smugglers and helping them evade the law.

Raja Shuja’at Ali Khan has also ordered a first information report (FIR) against officials charged by the inquiry, and the arrest of 13 absconding persons, wanted in a narcotics case, whose anticipatory bail he rejected.

In a strong indictment, the judge said that the drugs trade in the area had assumed alarming proportions because of a nexus between smugglers and revenue officials   

The inquiry has been ordered against a tehsildar, naib tehsildar, patwari and a girdawar over a report giving a clean chit to the 13 accused whose bhang crop in Malhora Shopian had been destroyed by authorities on August 8 last year.

An official report by the foursome had told the court during a recent hearing that the accused were innocent as they had destroyed the bhang crop themselves.

In his order, Ali questioned how the officials could have absolved the accused when the crop had been destroyed at the instance of the patwari.

“Revenue officials are trying their utmost to help narcotics smugglers evade the law,” the judge said. “On the one hand, the bhang crop was destroyed at the instance of the revenue department patwari, and then a police case (against the accused) was registered on the basis of the naib tehsildar’s report.”

“Now, what does the clean chit by the tehsildar absolving the accused mean?” the judge said, referring to the report produced in court by the defence.

Earlier during the hearing, the public prosecutor had said that the accused were known bhang cultivators, and directly involved in narcotics smuggling, with links to inter-state networks.

“The bhang was destroyed on the spot by a team of revenue, police and excise officers, and samples sent to the Forensic Sciences Laboratory had confirmed the presence of cannabis,” he said.

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