PATNA: If rodents in Bihar got a high by guzzling down thousands of bottles of confiscated liquor stored at police stations, how can their ilk in neighbouring Jharkhand stay low and behind?
Police in Jharkhand’s Dhanbad district have claimed that rats finished off nearly 50 kg of marijuana, which was confiscated and stored in the maalkhana (storeroom) of a police station.
Hard to believe it may be, but the claim was made by a police officer in a courtroom, leaving the inquisitive judge surprised and shocked. Of the 150 kg marijuana police had confiscated from a narcotics smuggler in May 2016, 50 kg was lost as rats allegedly ate it up at Barwadda police station. Charges were framed against Shivaji Kumar, the arrested smuggler, under the Narcotic Drugs Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 on July 5 and police were asked to produce the marijuana seized from him in the court.
Dinesh Kumar, the officer in charge of Barwadda police station, reached the district and sessions court with only 100 kg on Wednesday. When judge Ravindra Kumar asked about the rest, the officer submitted a report saying rats had consumed it. One third of the narcotic, kept in plastic sacks in the police station storeroom, had been devoured by the rodents, the report said.
While Dinesh Kumar declined to comment on the matter, as it is sub-judice, said it is possible that much of the marijuana was consumed and sold illegally by the police personnel posted at the police station.
Marijuana has for decades been used as a recreational drug by a large number of people in Jharkhand.
Confiscated marijuana and other narcotics are kept in storerooms of police stations, which are often overstuffed and poorly maintained.
In Bihar, where prohibition was imposed by the Nitish Kumar-led government sixteen months ago, police claimed in May that rats had gulped down a significant portion of confiscated liquor stored in the police station storerooms.
A police raid at a village in West Singhbhum district in March led to the seizure of seven quintals of ganja, valued at about Rs 25 lakh. The four villagers arrested were found to be illegally cultivating poppy and storing marijuana to sell it across the state.
In the Jharkhand capital Ranchi, clandestine sale of marijuana and cannabis at several locations, especially in up-market areas, is common knowledge. Police, aware of the problem, keep raiding shops and arrest peddlers almost every fortnight.