MULTAN: Three police officials, including a station house officer (SHO), were suspended from service after they allegedly showed only 3.6kg of charas instead of 100kg worth about Rs20m recovered charas in the official record and released the real suspects.

The suspended officials were identified as Lohari Gate SHO Muhammad Irfan, ASI Muhammad Arshad Iqbal and Shahbaz, a constable of Delhi Gate Police Station.

A first information report (FIR) was lodged with Lohari Gate Police Station on Oct 9 on the complaint of Assistant Sub-Inspector Muhammad Arshad Iqbal under the Control of Narcotics Substances Act 1997.

The FIR said that ASI Iqbal was on patrol along constables Ziaullah, Shahid and Muhammad Arshad in a police vehicle on Godri Kabotar Mandi when they checked a man coming from Hussain Agahi side while carrying a bag. ASI Iqbal said 3.6kg charas was recovered from the custody of the suspect, who identified himself as Haroon, a resident of Andhi Khoi, Chowk Bazaar.

According to an official handout, the action was taken under the supervision of SP City Division Rao Naeem Shahid, DSP Delhi Gate Muhammad Irman and SHO Lohari Gate Muhammad Irfan.

However, according to the sources, a police team, led by ASI Iqbal, had conducted the raid on a house in the walled city without any search warrants, recovered about 100kg charas and took a woman drug peddler and her two sons in custody. They said some cash and gold ornaments were also recovered from the suspects.

However, the sources added that after the negotiations between police and the suspects and another person, named Haroon, was handed over to police. Besides, a fake story of the recovery of 3.6kg charas was concocted and the FIR was lodged.

The sources said the woman and her both sons remained in the police station all night until the deal was finalised to give the recovered charas as ‘gift’ to police besides some cash. They said the value of the charas, which police took as gift, was approximately Rs20m.

The sources alleged that the SP and DSP concerned were also taken into confidence over the deal by SHO Muhammad Irfan; however, later on only three persons, including the SHO, were held responsible for it and they were suspended from service. They said the officer (SP) who was part of the deal was made the inquiry officer.

The spokesperson for the district police said SP City Rao Naeem Shahid had been made the inquiry officer while SHO Lohari Gate Muhammad Irfan, ASI Muhammad Arshad Iqbal and Shahbaz, a constable of Delhi Gate Police Station, had been suspended from service.

Replying to a question as to why an officer who, as per the official handout, had supervised the entire police action was made the inquiry officer and why the DSP concerned was not being probed, the spokesman said if the involvement of any other police officers was unearthed during the course of inquiry, action against them would also taken.

Sub-Inspector Faisal Ali was made Lohari Gate SHO on the direction of City Police Officer Munir Masood Marth on Oct 11.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2021

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