New Delhi: Courts are told that rats eat away drugs seized by the police when narcotics cases come up for hearing, said the Supreme Court on Thursday as it delved into issues relating to decongesting of police stations in Delhi.
It also asked why impounded or seized vehicles, which continue to lie at the police stations, are not sold in cases where nobody comes forward to claim their ownership even after several years.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta made these observations as the Delhi Police said a policy would be framed in four weeks on steps to decongest the city police stations by removing or disposing of seized or impounded materials and vehicles.
“In NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act) cases, 3-4 years later when the cases come up in court, nothing (seized drugs) is left in the malkhana and the police say that ‘choohe khaa gaye (rats ate it),” the bench said. ‘Malkhanas’ are rooms in police stations where materials seized by the police during investigation are stored.
The bench also observed that in narcotics cases, “more drugs are smuggled from inside the malkhana, than outside”.
Regarding seized vehicles lying at the police stations, the bench said most of them were those which were either stolen or used in a crime. Hence, nobody comes forward to claim ownership, it said, asking the police to frame a policy where such materials could be sold or disposed of.
“Is it necessary to keep seized two-wheelers and cars in the police stations,” it asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinky Anand, appearing for the Delhi Police.
The ASG said the police has to take permission from the concerned courts before disposing of such vehicles.
She referred to the affidavit filed by police which said that due to high workload in district courts, miscellaneous matters for disposal of applications do not get the requisite attention.
“It is stated (by the police) that a central registry is required to be set up in each of the district complexes in Delhi and for this, assistance of the Delhi High Court is required,” the bench noted in its order.
The police also informed the bench that there was only one district ‘nazir’ (record keeper of a malkhana) in Delhi, and considering the volume of work, several more district nazirs needed to be appointed.