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Saturday, May 14, 2016


How Kashmiri youth was framed in drug case to extort money from NRI family
J&K Police officer bargained ‘clean chit’ with NRI family in USA with the help of a businessman friend; filed FIR hastily when IGP intervened

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz/ Vivek Sharma

JAMMU, May 13: On March 7 this year, Jammu Police claimed to have arrested “two drug peddlers”, namely Rajbeer Singh and Sameer Ahmad Mir, residents of Baramulla at a naka on Jammu-Delhi national highway. It claimed to have recovered from their Wagon R, JK02AL-2298, 6500 intoxicating capsules and 65 bottles of banned syrup. It said that the naka was laid on “specific information” and FIR No: 51/2016 under sections 8, 21 and 22 of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act was registered against the two detainees at Bahu Fort Police Station. “During questioning, the drug peddlers revealed that consignment was brought from outside the State for sale among the youth in Jammu district”.

Weeks later, STATE TIMES learned that three, not two, persons were travelling in the vehicle when it was intercepted during a routine checking, not on any specific information, on March 5th  at 11.30 pm, not on March 7th at 10.50 pm, at Kunjwani Chowk, not at Bala Chowk Kunjwani, as shown in the Police records. While investigating further, it became clear that head of Narwal Police Post, Sub Inspector Mehmood Khan, held the duo in wrongful confinement without disclosing their “arrest” for two days and with the help of a Kashmiri businessman friend, Haseeb Tramboo, the Police officer bargained Rajbeer Singh’s “clean chit” with his NRI family based in Cleveland, United States of America.

The FIR was filed hastily, around 48 hours later, on March 7th, when the NRI family in Cleveland contacted an immigrant from Jammu, Ms Bindu, who called her school days class-fellow, Mr Danish Rana---currently Inspector General of Police Jammu--- and sought his help in release of Rajbeer Singh. In minutes of IGP’s call to SSP Jammu, SI Mehmood Khan sensed that the matter had been taken up with the higher authorities.  He did not lose a second to file the FIR.

Even as the recording of Mr Khan’s and Mr Tramboo’s call, which is available with STATE TIMES, was provided to senior Police officials earlier this month, no enquiry or any other action has been initiated against the Police officer and his businessman friend, bringing into question J&K Police’s system of taking cognizance and making the delinquent officials accountable.

During the course of investigation, Rajbeer’s relatives revealed that his brother Harjot Singh was settled in Cleveland along with parents and brother-in-law Summerpreet Singh. They are running a business in stores. Rajbeer, who lived at his house in Baramulla during summer and his house in Nanak Nagar during winter, was also planning to move to USA after completing a course in computer sciences.

In Jammu, Rajbeer developed friendship with one Joginder and invested Rs 1.50 lakh in his ice cream business. On March 3rd, Rajbeer left for New Delhi in his Wagon R, alongwith Joginder and another Baramulla-based youth Sameer. Rajbeer’s vehicle met with an accident at Patiala where he left back his Wagon R and travelled to Delhi by a taxi to catch up with a woman friend. Joginder followed him after repairing the vehicle and joined him at a hotel in Pahargunj area. On March 4th, Rajbeer and Joginder purchased some cooling equipment for latter’s ice factory. On March 5th, on their return, they were stopped by a Police party at Kunjwani Chowk, falling in jurisdiction of Gangyal Police Station.

While Rajbeer and Sameer were held at Narwal Police Post, Joginder was let off without questioning, leading to suspicions about his working for Police secretly. He moved out with three compressors, one AC plate besides a bag of Haldi and a packet of milk. Khan established contact with a number of Rajbeer’s relatives through businessman friend Haseeb Tramboo who reportedly operates business from Narwal. Rajbeer’s relatives revealed that money was straightaway demanded with the assurance that the boy would be left off the frame and let off.

“Since the demand ranged between Rs 5.00 lakh and Rs 10.00 lakh, we requested them to talk directly to Rajbeer’s brother and other family members in USA”, said one of his relatives in Jammu.

Sometime on March 7th, a telephonic conversation for 19 minutes and 20 seconds happened between the phones of Tramboo (in Jammu) and Harjot (in Cleveland). Tramboo facilitated SHO’s direct conversation with Rajbeer’s brother Harjot and Harjot’s brother-in-law Summerpreet Singh. Sub Inspector Khan told Harjot that his relatives in Jammu had “unnecessarily highlighted and delayed too much” and documentation of the case had happened. He clarified to Harjot that he could not help if his relatives continued to “highlight” it to senior officers and media.

“We are ready to do anything for Rajbeer’s release as he is supposed to reach USA shortly. We can pay money”, Harjot said. “No, there’s no issue of money. Money we will see later. For now, you should concentrate on bail”, SHO retorted. Both, Khan and Tramboo, explained to Harjot and Summerpreet that Police would make “a favourable report” that would facilitate Rajbeer’s release on bail. Tramboo assured the family that he would use the services of his family firm and engage the best criminal lawyers but made it clear that it all could be done only after the matter would be settled with the Police officer.

Tramboo further assured fellow residents of Baramulla and classmates, Harjot and Summerpreet, that he would drop Rajbeer at International Airport in New Delhi where he would board a US-bound flight.

However, before the exchange of money would be fixed and executed, Rajbeer’s family in USA sought help from one Ms. Bindu with the expectation that her intervention through IGP Jammu would ensure the detainee’s release in a legal manner. It proved counter-productive as Bahu Fort Police immediately booked Rajbeer and Sameer in the FIR under NDPS. On March 31, 2016, case was challaned in court of First Additional District Judge Jammu. Rajbeer and Sameer are in District Jail Amphalla in Jammu.


[Published in Saturday’s STATE TIMES]

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