THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government has constituted a special team to probe the recent seizure of drugs in Kochi by retaining the officials of the excise special squad that cracked the case. It may be recalled that the Kochi special squad headed by excise circle inspector Saji Lekshmanan had seized methylenedioxy methamphetamine (MDMA, also known as ecstasy) worth Rs 30 crore from Aluva while it was being taken to the airport.
Mr Lekshmanan was transferred to Muvattupuzha excise circle office last week as part a general transfer of 44 excise inspectors initiated by Excise Commissioner Rishi Raj Singh. The transfer had led to allegations that the investigation was being sabotaged. The role of international mafia and even terrorists was suspected in the racket and agencies like the RAW and Intelligence Bureau had sought information on the case.
Though Mr Rishi Raj Singh had earlier told DC that Mr. Lekshmanan would continue to head the probe team, excise officials said that it would not be practical for the circle inspector of a unit to probe into a case registered with another unit. Additional chief secretary Tom Jose, who is in charge of excise, issued the orders constituting the special investigation team on Wednesday. Assistant excise commissioner V. P. Suleshkumar of excise intelligence and investigation bureau in Thiruvananthapuram would head the team. Apart from Mr. Lekshmanan, Ranny excise circle inspector B. Suresh, inspector K.V. Sadayakumar of excise intelligence central zone and excise officials of the Ernakulam special squad would be members of the team.