Cross-border drone drug smuggling: SHO, six other cops received hefty sums from traffickers, finds probe
LAHORE: The Lahore police unearthed another racket allegedly linked to the cross-border drug smuggling through drones and recommended strong criminal and departmental proceedings against a station house officer (SHO) and six other police officials for abetting the alleged criminals.
The action was proposed against the then Shahdra SHO Sagheer Maitla, Sub-Inspector Iqbal, Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Fahad, constables Imran, Mustafa, Irfan and in charge Karol police post in Gujjarpura Sub-Inspector Sarmad Saeed in the light of an inquiry conducted by Lahore DIG Investigation Imran Kishwar.
The racket was detected by the Lahore Organized Crime Unit, former Crime Investigation Agency (CIA), when it arrested an alleged drug dealer of the city, Tahir, who during investigation revealed that police officials had been receiving huge gratifications from him for facilitation in drug trafficking.
As per the probe findings, the ex-SHO allegedly embezzled Rs10.25 million as bribe from the total amount recovered from the drug traffickers during a raid on their residences in Batapur and Manawan in August for facilitating them.
Similarly, SI Sarmad received Rs5 million from the drug dealers who, in return, were later sent to jail, showing recovery of just 300 gram heroin, the report says.
It said, SI Iqbal and ASI Fahad, who were part of the raiding team, are accused of embezzling the recovered amount of Rs5.4m, while other police officials kept the weapons and precious wrist watches belonging to the drug traffickers.
As the accused persons secured release from the jail, the police officials allegedly received another hefty amount of Rs4.2m as bribe them.
One of the alleged drug dealer, Adeel Ahmad, also said SI Iqbal, ASI Fahad and constables Imran, Irfan and Mustafa again blackmailed them and received Rs9m.
An official said these facts came to the limelight after the OCU (former CIA Lahore) police arrested Tahir in a raid on his house and the drug dealer offered an official Rs6m to ‘settle’ the issue.
Tahis revealed during interrogation about the hefty sums he had been paying to the ex-SHO and other police officials.
The OCU high-UPS later brought the matter to the notice of the Lahore capital city police officer (CCPO) who ordered a high-level inquiry into the matter with directions to expand the scope of investigations to round up all the culprits, including the police officials.
The probe report (A copy of the report is available with Dawn) also revealed the police team led by ex-SHO of Shahdara conducted the raid in the limits of Manawan police station, exceeding his jurisdiction, without lawful authority, without prior approval of senior officer and without an entry in the daily diary of the police station.
“It is alarming that no record of this raid has been documented at either police station or Manawan where the raid was carried out, indicating sinister motives on the part of SHO Saghir Maitla and his team members including training ASI Iqbal, ASI Fahad Ashfaq and constables Iman, Mustafa, and Irfan”, reads the report.
Regarding the confiscated amount and items, it said, the SHO has confessed during the course of the inquiry and in his written statement that he surrendered the recovered drones, a car, a gun, a pistol and jewellery in exchange for a sum of Rs5m.
“Had he been clean on all counts, he should have proceeded against his own team which conducted this raid, collected the crime proceeds worth more than Rs90,00,000 and colluded with the drug racket by initiating a soft legal action under section 9-B of Control of Narcotics Substances Act (CNSA) instead of 9-C CNSA”, reads the report.
It stated that SI Samad Saeed, currently posted also played the role of an intermediary between the drug smugglers and the police by receiving Rs5m from the drug dealers.
After the matter was exposed, the SI returned Rs4.5m to one of the dealers to “settle” the issue.The inquiry officer recommended that the ex-SHO and his team members should be prosecuted under section 15 of the CNSA for their involvement in assisting and supporting the drug traffickers.
A case should also be registered under section 9(1) 6B against the officials for manipulating the quantity of the seized narcotics to benefit the peddlers, and a reference be forwarded to the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) to initiate a case under section 165, 165-A of the PPC against them for their acts of corruption, the DIG investigation recommends.
He also recommended action against SI Samad Saeed, who received the Rs5m from the drug smugglers.
Apart from the legal actions, the officer strongly advised that strict departmental action, including dismissal from service, against these policemen for their proven misconduct in order to send a message to other potential collaborators of crime.
Interestingly, the police inquires launched at different levels are ‘silent’ about the role of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Ayyaz Khan who was posted in Shahdara Circle when the alleged dealers were arrested and presented before him, along with the recovered amount and the drugs.
Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2023