KARACHI: A district and sessions court upheld the verdict of a magistrate for dismissing an application seeking return of Rs1.6 million allegedly offered as a bribe to a policeman for the release of confiscated smuggled betel nuts.

The police had confiscated the offered money and declared it the case property after registering an FIR against the suspect.

Head Constable Ayaz Ali lodged the case at the Mochko police station against Ajab Khan (the applicant) and others for smuggling betel nuts in cement bags in a truck.

When HC Ayaz was registering the case against the suspects, Ajab Khan offered Rs1.6 million bribe to the head constable to release the confiscated betel nuts. However, HC Ayaz refused to take the bribe and filed a complaint against the suspects.

After hearing and recording the evidence from both the prosecution and the applicant sides, Additional District and Sessions Judge (West) Sohail Ahmed Mashori dismissed the application and upheld the magistrate’s order.

The judge observed that the money in question was directly linked to the alleged offence of bribery.

The judge remarked: “The refusal of a significant bribe by a lower-ranking officer to allow alleged smuggling goods exemplifies an act of remarkable integrity and courage. Despite the potential temptation of financial gain, the officer chose to uphold the law and ethical standards, demonstrating a steadfast commitment to their duty and the principles of justice.

“This kind of behaviour is crucial for maintaining public trust in law enforcement and the legal system,” the court observed, adding that “the officer’s actions can serve as an inspiration and a benchmark for others, emphasising the importance of ethical conduct in both professional and personal life.”

The court noted that the case was the ‘tip of the iceberg’ that showed smuggling elements causing huge losses to the national exchequer.

The court suggested the inspector general police Sindh to set up high-resolution CCTV cameras and install scanning equipment at strategic locations to monitor and record activities in real-time.

He prayed to set aside the order of the magistrate because the order was not in accordance with law.

On the other hand, the state prosecutor argued that the cash was the subject matter of the offence because it was offered as a bribe to the police, thus it was crucial to the prosecution for the case against the applicant.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2024

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