Ludhiana’s Malkhana fire: Accident or conspiracy; forensic team asked to find cause
The police are scanning their records to assess the loss due to the fire; as case properties dumped in the malkhana were older than three decades, the police are finding it hard to trace all the records
A day after fire broke out in the malkhana of the police department in the court complex in the mini-secretariat, forensic teams have been called to carry out an investigation into the incident to ascertain whether it was an accident or a conspiracy.
The police are scanning their records to assess the loss due to the fire. As case properties dumped in the malkhana were older than three decades, the police are finding it hard to trace all the records.
According to police officials, the fire broke out at around 5.30pm on Saturday. It took five hours for the fire brigade officials to douse the flames.
Additional deputy commissioner of police (ADCP, City 1) Shubham Aggarwal said that the building contained case properties of old cases which are more than 35 years old. The reason behind the incident has not been ascertained yet. The police have called the forensic science team to investigate the matter thoroughly and to ascertain the reason, he said.
On Saturday, the dilapidated malkhana caught fire and multiple explosions were reported in the building as police had dumped kerosene cans, chemicals and LPG gas cylinders there.
No action in two-year-old case of ‘missing’ 76 drug samples from malkhana
The fire incident brought to the fore the issue of a two-year-old case of theft of 76 drug samples and ₹25,000 drug money from another malkhana of the police department on sixth floor of the court complex. A special Investigation team (SIT) formed by the commissioner of police failed to crack the case.
At least 76 samples of narcotics, including opium and heroin, recovered by the police in different cases, along with ₹25,000 drug money were stolen from malkhana at the sixth floor of district court complex in 2021. The burglars had opened the lock of malkhana using duplicate keys and again locked it after stealing the samples.
Knowing that absence of samples could affect the entire case, the police personnel did not inform the senior officials about the theft for 22 days.
The Division number 5 police had lodged an FIR against unidentified accused on March 5, 2021. The then commissioner of police Rakesh Agrawal had formed a special investigation team to probe the case.
RTI activist Kuldeep Singh Khaira said that he filed an application under Right to Information Act seeking action taken by the police in the matter. The police were reluctant in passing the information. After he filed first appeal, the police provided him with the information.
Khaira said that according to the information, the SIT failed to crack the case even after two years of investigation.
When contacted, ADCP city 1 Shubham Aggarwal said that he will look into the matter and they will try to solve the case soon.