In an unusual development, it was unearthed during a court hearing that the official in-charge of the store where evidence or court property is kept, swapped the narcotics, allegedly recovered from a suspect, with sand and stone.
The official has been suspended and police have initiated inquiry into the swap.
The court was in session when prosecution claimed that police had recovered 38 kilogrammes of opium and 22kgs of hashish from a suspect, Khalid, in February 2021.
However, when the judge told the officials to produce the sealed evidence, there were no drugs, only sand and stones of the same weight.
Whether the drugs were swapped for illegal sale, or to provide the suspect the benefit of doubt, will be clear after the inquiry.
During the hearing, the Additional District and Sessions Judge of the East Model Criminal Trial Court directed the SSP Investigation-I to take departmental action against Mallkhana Police Constable Ajab Khan and submit a report.
The narcotics case was heard in the Karachi City Courts before the Additional District and Sessions Judge East Model Criminal Trial Court.
The judge remarked that the accused could benefit from the criminal negligence of the malkhana in charge. “Have you received bribe,” he asked Constable Ajab.
The investigation officer of the case, Asif Ali, had submitted the case property into the malkhana. The case property included 38kgs of opium and 22kgs of hashish.
The court ordered to present the case property as evidence on the next hearing. When the case property packet was opened in the court, stones came out from the bag of opium and sand from bag of hashish.
The court issued a show-cause notice to City Court East Malkhana constable Ajab Khan and directed the SSP Investigation-I to take departmental action against him and submit a report.
According to the police, accused Khalid was arrested on February 4, 2021, near the PCSIR Laboratory. An accomplice of the accused had managed to escape.
A search of the suspects turned up 38kg of opium in one bag and 22kg of hashish in the other bag. Khalid had confessed that hashish belonged to his absconding accomplice Abdul Haq.