The executive magistrate of Thanamandi near the Line of Control (LOC) in the Rajouri district has been stripped of his powers after he ordered release from jail of two dreaded drug smugglers without seeking the mandatory police report.

The district magistrate (DM), Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, taking a serious note of the lapse on the part of the executive magistrate stripped him of his quasi-judicial powers and ordered that he shall henceforth deal only with cases pertaining to land disputes.

Scrutiny of the records by the DM revealed that the executive magistrate had ordered the release of the two drug smugglers on bail within three days of their arrest without following the due procedure established under the law. The executive magistrate having knowledge of the grave seriousness of the case did not conduct any enquiry under the Section 116 CrPc before passing an order for discharge of persons under the Section 118 and even without seeking any report from the police to substantiate the bail application moved by parents of the accused.

The superintendent of the jail said that the smugglers were released on 27 October on the orders issued by the executive magistrate. Further investigations have revealed that the executive magistrate did not use his own seal on the release order and neither mentioned his name.

The Naib-Tehsildar of Thanamandi, Mohammad Farooq Rather, based on the police complaint had issued detention orders against Raj Kumar, Sourabh Kumar, Saddam Hussain and Zafar Iqbal for their alleged involvement in drug peddling. However, the tehsildar ordered their release within three days.

As a result of this, the DM has issued strict directions to all executive magistrates to step up vigil against drug peddlers in their respective jurisdictions and initiate legal action under the Section 44 CrPc against them for indulging in the menace. He also ordered the police to initiate fresh action against the two drug peddlers who were wrongly released.

Due to the drive against drug peddlers initiated in the Rajouri district by the DM, more than 50 persons have been detained so far.