CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Police is planning to deposit its expensive seized items in bank lockers. Till now valuables such as cash, jewellery and weapons were kept in ‘maalkhanas’ of police stations. But they went missing in some cases due to police-criminal nexus.
To safeguard these items, the police station concerned will open lockers in the nearest branch of a bank and the police department will bear the annual fee. The officials will send a list of the valuables kept in the lockers to their seniors. The keys will be accessible to the Station House Officer (SHO) or DSP who will operate the locker. The lockers can also be opened in their name or designation.
When a case is registered and a person is arrested, the items seized from him are kept in the maalkhana. Once the trial begins, these items are sent to the maalkhana of the courts. These maalkhanas are also under the control of the police as an assistant sub-inspector or sub-inspector level officer is in charge of it. As and when needed in the court or after completion of the case, the items are either taken out and exhibited in the court or handed back.
In May, cash (`4.11 lakh, 3,090 Canadian dollars, $11,624), gold jewellery, a revolver, 27 rounds and an arms licence went missing from the maalkhana of Rama police station in Bathinda. These items were case properties in a high-profile case in which Mangal Singh Sandhu, former Director, Agriculture of the state was arrested in 2015 in connection with the pesticide scam.
What is a Maalkhana?
All seized items are kept in an extra room of a police station under lock and key. The items are sealed and a munshi is given the
charge. The SP (Detective) of the district and Chief Judicial Magistrate inspect these maalkhanas from time to time.