Suspect investigations, no accountability- NDPS cases

In respect of dealing with all seriousness and resources, the menace of drugs – its procuring , sale, distribution – and all aspects of the concerned well organised trade thereof, resulting in widespread and fast entrapping of the people in the UT towards its use and addiction , ‘Excelsior’, it may be reiterated, has been voicing its concern in unequivocal terms and on consistent basis. Whether it is in respect of the elementary pre-emptive, preventive and penal actions expected to be taken or to put in place ”dedicated” professional investigating officers and other staff or to effectively implementing the provisions of Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and to establishing special fast track courts for trying cases registered there-against , with the recent very significant judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court, our stand stands vastly vindicated. Looking to the enormity of devastation constantly caused by drugs and its spreading network in terms of wrecking the strong young physique of our youth, causing economic and social problems and what not , it is not the duty of one Government agency but a combination of many, beyond the set official commitments or the ones related to formal official duties but on moral , humanitarian and patriotic grounds to walk a step or two more to break the neck of the entire structure and mechanism of drugs trade in this sensitive border Union Territory. That at the top, includes honest, dedicated , professional , diligent and hard working investigations.
Should , therefore, there be any scope , not even in the least , for doing investigations in half -hearted manner , with snail’s pace and perhaps, shockingly in a deliberate manner to let the culprit engaged in the trade of selling ”slow poison” get breather and consequently an acquittal from the court? These are the questions directly and indirectly asked by the Honb’le Bench of the High Court? Again, in cases of investigations laced with all suspect approach, when the investigating officer subjected to departmental enquiry, be let off declaring the one with such deliberate poor investigation as ”not involved” is again referred to by the judgment passed by the Bench in an appeal filed by the UT against an acquittal where the accused were proved not guilty ? Courts proceed in a case depending upon the quality of the investigations and preparing of and submitting or producing all relevant and critical papers , documents and important exhibits . Delays in disposal of cases in courts are largely due to this factor. Hence, not only is there the dire need of entrusting the task of investigations of cases under the NDPS Act to a well trained team on latest and professional lines but made them accountable too for the quality , intent and the speed.
We have been lamenting, through these columns, about the total absence of the importance of conducting training courses for UT employees on intermittent basis and in the instant case, why not seriously consider and implement on regular intervals, on need based annual or bi-annual basis, training courses for investigating officers assigned the duties of dealing with cases pertaining to drugs etc preferably in the country’s reputed institutes on crimes and criminology. Another measure of incentivising performance and conversely penalising for shirking responsibilities and indulging in wilful poor performance in the process of investigating cases, could pay encouraging dividends.
Are , therefore, all these mandatory requirements fulfilled in respect of the process of investigations? Has in the UT, in such cases of critical nature, the peculiar phenomenon being noted that mostly branches are trimmed and not roots struck of the growing tree of the drugs trade as observed by the Bench by saying that only “carriers and not handlers ” of the well organised drugs trade are booked which , therefore, implies that the main source wherefrom the drugs are procured for sale and even where huge quantities of seized contraband had to be delivered, remain out of focus. Enquiries ,in this peculiar trend of dealing with drugs seizures and arresting just the driver of the vehicle and a carrier and prosecuted by the investigating team , usually rarely fix pointed accountability in enquiry reports and, therefore, the entire exercise appears to be meriting of casting aspersions thereon. How in such circumstances can the scourge be fought to its logical ends .? The reasons behind the High Court arranging copies of the said important judgment to be sent to all concerned top functionaries of the UT administration speaks about the levels of strong view taken by the court and , therefore, expecting the Government to take the required series of corrective measures by devising an effective action plan. We hope and as desired by the High Court, that a proper mechanism shall be put in place, a proper SOP which otherwise has been formulated by the Home Department will be followed to bring a perceptible improvement in prosecuting the accused booked under NDPS Act and cause maximum convictions with stringent punishment awarded to them.