Thiruvananthapuram: Excise officials are divided over the alleged sabotage of a drug case in which 84 gram of MDMA, a psychotropic drug mostly known as ecstasy, was initially seized from seven people from a flat at Kakkanad in Ernakulam.
After the severe differences among excise officials came to the fore in a WhatsApp group of officials, the Excise Commissioner issued a show-cause notice to Inspector Salim Kumar Das, who had criticised the disciplinary action initiated against some of the officials on the messaging platform.
The department had earlier suspended special squad Inspector N Shankar from service, besides transferring four others after the alleged sabotage had been reported. The heated exchange of words on the WhatsApp group of pro-CPM Excise Officers Association State Council took place even as the department crime branch is probing the alleged lapses.
The suspended inspector, Shankar, is one of the group admins. Das made posts critical of the department's disciplinary action in the group, which has about 95 officials as its members. A prominent official, who was part of the Commissioner's State enforcement squad that raided the flat, questioned Das, and others soon took sides.
It has been rumoured that the squad member handed over the messages to the excise vigilance officer, which led to the show-cause notice. The officer reported that the criticism was targeted at the Commissioner's enforcement squad. The notice told Das to show reasons within 15 days for not initiating action against him for breach of discipline and code of conduct.
Meanwhile, the vigilance officer taking sides has left the other faction fuming.
The excise raided the Kakkanad flat on August 19 jointly with central agencies. However, cases were registered against only five people, letting off two others. It has been alleged that the department officials even did not record the seizure of part of the drugs to aid some of the peddlers.