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MDMA seizure: Excise faces heat over exclusion of two

The CCTV footage recovered from the apartment in Vazhakkala had revealed the two were part of the busted drug-peddling gang 
 

Published: 27th August 2021 05:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th August 2021 05:21 AM   |  A+A-

For representational purposes

Express News Service

KOCHI: More contradictions have surfaced in the investigation carried out by the excise department into the seizure of more than 1kg of MDMA from a service apartment in Vazhakkala that led to the arrest of five persons last week. Excise officials are facing inquiry over the exclusion of two persons including a woman from the case. The CCTV footage recovered from the apartment had revealed the two were part of the busted drug-peddling gang. 

According to the incident report prepared by the excise, only five persons were present at the apartment when the raid was carried out. The excise report claims that after receiving information from the Excise Commissioner’s Special Squad (Central Zone) around 10.30pm on August 18, excise officials reached the Marhaba Apartment and conducted a raid around 11pm. The report said five persons were present in two rooms. 

It also claims that a woman from Tiruvalla and a Kasaragod native came there after the arrest of the five accused persons were recorded, by 1.30am on August 19.  “The report states that the Tiruvalla native woman, claiming to be the wife of the arrested Sreemon of Kozhikode, came to the flat accompanied by a Kasaragod native when the arrests were recorded. It is written in the excise report that they told the officer that they reached the place after coming to know about the raid.

However, the CCTV footage from the verandah of the apartment reveals that the Tiruvalla woman was there around 9.15pm on August 18. Similarly, the woman and the Kasaragod man were seen in a photograph tweeted by the customs from its official handle on August 19 claiming that seven persons were arrested in the case,” an excise insider said.

Another major contradiction in the excise report is that it claims the customs officials were summoned to the place after the excise raided the apartment.  However, the caretakers of the apartment told TNIE that it was customs officials who first reached the place. Similarly, it was a lead received by the customs that led to the arrest, contrary to claims made by the excise officials.  “A customs team reached the apartment around 9-9.30am on August 18. The excise officials came an hour later. The customs officials returned by around 12-12.30am on August 19,” a person at the apartment said. 

A similar flaw on the part of the excise was revealed after the agency failed to report the seizure of a deer antler from the accused persons. When the report regarding the accused possessing antler appeared, the excise department communicated the matter to the forest department. The forest department has registered a case in the seizure of antler and filed a petition before a magistrate court to record the arrest of the accused persons on Thursday.

“We filed a petition with our magistrate concerned seeking permission to arrest the accused persons. The court directed the forest department to file a petition in this regard at the magistrate court, which remanded the accused persons in judicial custody. We will be filing a petition in this regard at the Ernakulam Judicial First Class Magistrate Court on Friday,” a forest officer said.



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