Excise suspends special squad inspector, transfers four for mishandling Kakkanad drug seizure case

Drugs seized from a lodge in Kozhikode

Kochi: The Excise Department swooped down on a group of special squad officers for mishandling the case in which MDMA worth Rs. 11 crores were recovered from a flat at Kakkanad in Kochi.

Ernakulam Excise enforcement and anti-narcotic special squad inspector N Shankar was suspended from the service pending inquiry for letting off two accused from police custody and for failing to properly register cases and write mahasars. 

Four other officials were transferred out of the district. G Vinoj, who was Circle Inspector in charge of supervision at the special squad, was transferred to Vellarikundu in Kasargod district. Excise Preventive Officer KS Pramod was transferred to Malappuram. Civil Excise Officers MS Shiva Kumar and MA Shibu were transferred to Alappuzha and Thrissur offices respectively.           

The action was taken by Excise Commissioner S Anandakrishnan on the basis of the preliminary inquiry report submitted by Excise Preventive Additional Commissioner A Abdul Rashi. 

In the notice issued to them, it was pointed out that their misconduct had dented the image of the department in the eyes of the public. 

The inquiry report mainly blamed the Excise officers for their failure to follow proper administrative procedures while dealing with the case. The report is understood to have mentioned that they did not do anything deliberately to scuttle the probe.        

The report sought legal scrutiny of the action of the inspector registering a separate case for the recovery which was done on the basis of the first case. It also sought a detailed probe by the Excise Department into these aspects.

Acting on a tip-off, the Excise special squad and the Customs Enforcement jointly raided the flat and took seven accused into custody and seized drugs and deer antlers from the flat. 

But it was alleged that an attempt was made to scuttle the case by not registering cases properly,  not including many things in mahasar and finally letting two accused free.    

In the case registered after the first search, two women accused were let off saying that they were not directly linked to the drug peddling. 

The allegation was that despite seizing more than one kg of MDMA in Kochi, the Excise registered a case for keeping only 84 grams of drugs against the accused. In the case filed after the second search at the flat, the details of the seized MDMA weighing 1.115 kg were not included in the FIR.         

The details of the seized deer antelopes were also not included in the Mahasar.     

Custody sought

The Excise Crime Branch has submitted an application in the court for getting the accused in the drug seizure case in custody.  

The custody of accused Mohammed Fawas, Sreemon, and Shabna, Mohammed Afsal and Mohammed were sought.  

Earlier, the move by the Excise district unit to seek the custody of the accused did not materialise since the probe was taken over by the Excise Crime Branch.

Seven mistakes

1. Two accused were let off without questioning

2. Though 9 mobile phones were seized, 5 were given back to the accused without examination.  

3. Laptops of the accused were not seized from flat 

4. Money recovered from the accused not properly counted and accounted 

5. Full recovery of drugs was not done during the first search itself  

6. Details of the seized deer antlers were not included in the mahasar 

7. Not followed the Joint Excise Commissioner's circular on conducting probe in a lawful and careful manner   

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