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Ex-IPS officer gets 15 years in jail for smuggling heroin

Constable Rajesh Kataria, accused’s driver, gets 10 years

A special Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) court on Monday convicted a former IPS officer, Saji Mohan, for possessing and smuggling drugs in 2009 and sentenced him to 15 years in jail. The court also convicted a constable, Rajesh Kataria, who was Mohan’s driver then and sentenced him to 10 years in jail. They were held with 37.850 kg of heroin.

On January 17, 2009, Kataria and Vicky Oberoi, a city-based businessman, were arrested and heroin seized from them. The Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) learnt that Mohan, the then zonal director with the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and joint director of the Enforcement Directorate, was also involved in the drugs racket. Mr. Oberoi and Mohan were friends and based on their telephonic conversations the police arrested Mohan from Raheja Club in Andheri on January 24, 2009 and seized a bag with 12 kg heroin. On January 26, 2009, he gave a disclosure statement to the police that 25 kg of heroin was lying in a flat belonging to Mr. Oberoi’s son in Naigaon.

Accused turns approver

The court framed charges against the trio in 2012 and Mr. Oberoi turned approver in 2013. The prosecution examined 23 witnesses during the trial. Judge M.S. Mungale relied on the evidence provided by Mr. Oberoi. Advocate Shekhar Bhandari, who appeared for Mohan, alleged that more than eight judges had been transferred and conducted the trial.

He said, “We will definitely appeal in the Bombay High Court because there has been no independent witness from both the spots to prove the seizure.” He added, “Mr. Oberoi’s son, who owned the flat where the 25kg heroin was found, was not examined.”

Mohan and Kataria have been convicted under Sections 8C (prohibition of certain operations to produce, manufacture, possess, sell, purchase, transport, warehouse, use, consume, import inter-State, export inter-State, import into India, export from India or tranship any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance), with 21C (punishment for contravention in relation to manufactured drugs and preparations where the contravention involves commercial quantity), and 29 (punishment for abetment and criminal conspiracy) of NDPS Act.

According to the ATS, heroin was smuggled across the border via Jammu and Kashmir. The agency also held that during Mohan’s tenure as NCB zonal director, he would steal more than 50% of the drug consignments. He would smuggle contraband to drug peddlers in Mumbai and other cities.

Another case

In March 2013, Mohan and Balwinder Singh, an offical in the NCB, were convicted by the Chandigarh court for pilfering 60 kg of heroin from 13 seizures. On March 3, 2015, the Punjab and Haryana High Court upheld 13 years of imprisonment for both of them. Special public prosecutor Avadhut Chimalkar also informed the court about this conviction.

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