Policeman blames ants for eating 24kg of hashish
STATE PROSECUTORS have told an incredulous high court in India’s western Goa province that white ants devoured 24kg of hashish from a police storehouse, precluding it from being offered as evidence.
“Twenty-four of 280kg of seized hashish was in an unsealed condition and has been devoured by white ants,” lawyers told the Goa court this week while opposing a bail application of suspended police officer Ashish Shirodkar.
Along with five colleagues Mr Shirodkar is being tried under the Narcotics Act for alleged links to an Israeli drug dealer operating in India’s idyllic holiday spot where drugs are freely available.
Drug enforcement officials suspect the policemen sold the hashish on the thriving black market and blamed its disappearance on the termites.
Goa’s furious state home minister Ravi Naik said “heads would roll” once responsibility was fixed for the “white ant attack” on the bags of hashish in police custody.
“Responsibility has to be fixed in this matter,” the minister thundered.
Termites are not the only ones blamed by India’s creative police for destroying or consuming crucial evidence.
Some years ago police in New Delhi claimed that rats regularly consumed gallons of moonshine seized by them, spawning a credibility problem when the force was unable to produce samples of the seized liquor in court.
“If we tell the judge it has been consumed by rats he laughs at us and holds us in contempt,” said one police officer.
He said there had been instances where the officer in charge of the evidence room had been suspended for consuming or selling the moonshine. But in most cases he was the innocent victim of a “frame up” by drunken rats, he claimed.
Other police stations began storing the liquor in tin trunks but seizures invariably spilled on to the ground, much to the delight of the alcoholic rats.
Brewing illicit liquor is rampant in and around Delhi, especially along its borders with other provinces such as Haryana. This moonshine is much cheaper and far stronger than regular alcohol sold in liquor stores and favoured by labourers and farm workers.
RAHUL BEDI in New Delhi
Tuesday, April 20, 2010