Crooked or Cooked? - Saji Mohan, the 1995 batch IPS officer
Friends, We all know that Saji Mohan, the 1995 batch IPS officer from Jammu and Kashmir cadre who recently had been the deputy director in Enforcement Directorate's Kochi unit and who had served as NCB's zonal director in Chandigarh for two years (2007-08) and under whom several seizures of heroin were made in the region has been recently arrested by the Mumbai ATS. This has been the first instance of a senior IPS officer being arrested in a crime of the magnitude of drug trafficking. The investigation is under progress and newer facts might emerge. A question that might be of interest is how Saji has so far been presented in the media before and after this incidence. Here I present a few references concerning Saji as found in the media after and before his arrest. Amitabh Thakur SP(Intll), Faizabad Now- "Saji Mohan, the senior IPS officer who was arrested in Mumbai on the charge of selling heroin, had ironically carved for himself an image of a anti-narcotics crusader who had exposed alleged police-drug mafia nexus in Chandigarh. " "In July last, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) zonal office headed by him had come out with discloures about several Chandigarh police personnel being allegedly involved in drug peddling. The NCB had said many policemen had deep links with the drug cartel and that illegal drug trade was being carried out in connivance with the police in the region. Subsequently, Chandigarh police had suspended five of its personnel suspected to be involved in a drug racket. The action was taken on the basis of a report submitted by the NCB of which Mohan was then the Zonal Director. " "Asked if police will have a relook at the cases of the suspended policemen, Chandigarh's Inspector General of Police S K Jain said, "We will take the new development (Mohan's arrest) into account". "During his stint in Chandigarh, Mohan had initiated a number of de-addiction campaigns in the tricity (Chandigarh and its satellite towns of Panchkula and Mohali) in which he involved the area police and many educational institutes." "Cracking down on the drug problem in the tricity, the IPS officer had spearheaded many operations by raiding medical shops that led to the seizure of banned injections and drugs." "Sources in Mohali police said there was a lack of coordination between the force and bureau during Saji Mohan's stay." "Mohali SSP Jatinder Singh Aulakh claimed all operations were carried on without any assistance from the bureau. Sources said following the IPS officer's arrest, Mohali police is thinking of reinvestigating the cop-smuggler nexus." "IG (Zonal) CSR Reddy said they could study the case again with a different perspective. ``But first, we will wait for the ATS reports on Saji Mohan.'' "Not wishing to be named, a senior police official said they were not offered any assistance by NCB during drug recovery on four different occasions. Police officials said though the NCB headquarter was only a few miles from the district, both hardly ever worked in tandem. " Previous Posts- "4 kg heroin seized in Chandigarh (July 24th, 2008) Sleuths of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Thursday arrested a man and recovered from him four kg of heroin, worth Rs.40 million in the international market. "A close-knit network of heroin traffickers is run by a group based in Pakistan and their kingpin is a Pakistani national who is at present lodged in a Punjab jail," NCB zonal director Saji Mohan told mediapersons. "They bring this heroin via Amritsar. Some Nigerians are the main buyers who further take it to European markets," he said. "We are keeping a close watch on the activities of that Pakistan national and of the Nigerian who was expected to come to receive this consignment," Mohan said." "Heroin haven" (Ramesh Vinayak June 13, 2008) Law enforcement agencies in Punjab, Jammu and Rajasthan have intercepted about 465 kg of heroin in the first-half of 2008, which is roughly a fivefold increase over the corresponding period of 2007. "Seizures have increased because there is more stuff flowing from Pakistan," says Saji Mohan, zonal director, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Chandigarh. Enforcement agencies find it hard to net the "big fish" running the cross-border narcotic syndicates. "Mostly smalltime carriers and peddlers are arrested," adds Saji. " "NCB seizes cocaine, charas worth Rs 1.5 cr ( 15 August 2008) Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Chandigarh Zonal Unit today seized 110 grams of Cocaine and 5 Kg of Charas, worth about Rs 1.5 crores in the international market, from two persons at the roundabout of Sector 39 here today, while they were traveling in a black Scorpio. Dr. Saji Mohan, Zonal Director, NCB, said that on interrogation, Suresh revealed that he was a drug peddler since last eight years, and have been selling Cocaine and Charas to addicts and club-goers in the party circuit, majority of them hailing from affluent families."
Friends, An article by Nishi Mishra in the online site Breakingnews.com says that "During his stint as a zonal director of the NCB in Chandigarh, Saji Mohan had seized a record quantity of drugs from the peddlers." More importantly, Nishi writes that- "Saji Mohan's colleagues and neighbours refused to believe that he could be involved in a drug racket. "He might have been framed", they said." With so much at discredit for the police department, what does this group think about the Saji Mohan incidence? While there is one view that an IPS officer of his rank and stature could not have been arrested (without substantive proof), there are also others who think that he might have been framed by some of the vested interests so as to discredit him. What do people in this group feel like? Dr Nutan Thakur Editor, Nutan Satta Pravah, Lucknow