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Demand for a CBI or HC judge monitored probe into drug racket case involving medicos

January 24, 2023 07:07 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:21 am IST - MANGALURU

Former government pleader and vice-president of Mangaluru Bar Association Manoraj Rajeeva and forensic expert Mahabalesh Shetty talking to reporters in Mangaluru on Tuesday.

Former government pleader and vice-president of Mangaluru Bar Association Manoraj Rajeeva and forensic expert Mahabalesh Shetty talking to reporters in Mangaluru on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Accusing the city police of not doing a proper investigation into the drug racket case involving medicos, a forensic expert and a former government pleader on Tuesday demanded an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation or by a team supervised by a High Court Judge into the matter.

Mahabalesh Shetty, Head of the Department of Forensic Medicine, K.S. Hegde Medical Academy, Mangaluru, and former government pleader and now vice-president of Mangaluru Bar Association Manoraj Rajeeva said at a press conference here on Tuesday that they will demand for the probe in a petition to be filed before the Karnataka High Court.

Dr. Shetty said a majority of the 22 medicos, who were among the 29 arrested so far, are consumers of cannabis and they have been wrongly projected by the police as drug peddlers.

“The section 64 A of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 provides immunity for consumers from prosecution when they seek to undergo de-addiction. None of the medicos charged in the case have been sent for de-addiction. The police have published the names of these medicos in public and defamed them when Act itself bars such an action,” he said.

Dr. Shetty said the medicos have been booked after they were found positive in the screening test, which has been devised by him.

“This screening test only indicates about the person likely to have consumed cannabis. This test has to be followed by confirmatory test using blood, hair or urine samples at the Forensic Science Laboratory, which has to be done within 24 hours of the screening test. Without the confirmatory test reports, the police have showed medicos in a poor light.”

The forensic expert said that on an average 4,000 screening tests are done by the police across Karnataka daily and around 300 are tested positive.

“Nowhere those tested positive are named and shamed as Mangaluru police have done,” he said.

The city police have also acted against a circular issued by the Union Ministry of Social Justice in 2019 that drug addicts need to reform and not jailed, he said.

Mr. Rajeeva alleged that the city police have failed to act against peddlers who have supplied drugs to the medicos.

“Instead of a bottom up approach and booking the peddlers, the city police have booked consumers, who cannot be faulted when drugs are made freely available.”

By arresting and detaining cannabis consumers, the city police have caused irreparable misery not just to those medicos but also to their family members. “The city police have also tarnished the image of the city that is known as education and health hub,” he alleged.

Senior police officers and elected representatives have failed in their duty to ensure proper investigation of this case, he alleged.

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