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Arrest of Police Inspector Could Lead to Drug Network

That the roots of the drug mafia in Punjab run deep is a well known fact. That such a well entrenched network cannot operate without the connivance of a section of the political class, administrative officials and police officers has also been quite apparent. Today's arrest of an Inspector (local rank) of the Punjab Police by the Special Task Force (STF) on the charges of providing protection to smugglers of narcotics, and organizing smuggling and trafficking of narcotics through his associates, may just have removed the lid from one such network.

Sensing a similar pattern in court acquittal on technical grounds of the accused in three recent cases of big narcotics hauls, the STF zeroed in on Inspector Inderjit Singh (substantive rank of Head Constable) and in coordinated raids   conducted in the wee hours of Monday at his residences 4 kg heroin, 3 kg smack, an illegal Italian make 9 mm pistol, live cartridges of various calibers Rs 16.5 lakh cash, and 3550 Great Britain pounds were recovered, STF chief, Additional Director General of Police Harpreet Singh Sidhu told a news conference at the Punjab Police Headquarters.

Sidhu revealed that after registration of case against the accused Inspector, joint raids were conducted by various STF teams led by Mukhwinder Singh AIG/STF, Jalandhar, Snehdeep Sharma, AIG/STF Ludhiana, and Harpreet Singh AIG/STF Rupnagar. Based on the investigations a case FIR No. 1 dated 12.06.2017 was registered by ADG STF under section 59 (2) (b) of the NDPS Act, 1985, and u/s 218, 466, 471, 120-B IPC at STF Police Station SAS Nagar against Inspector Inderjit Singh (No.108/Amritsar) and DSP Jaswant Singh, the latter being responsible for putting Inderjit Singh on investigation into the cases despite he being not authorized under law to investigate such cases.

Arrest of Police Inspector Could Lead to Drug Network, Lifeinchd

Photo By: Life in Chandigarh

Elaborating, Sidhu said reliable sources had provided information to the STF that Insp. Inderjit Singh, who was under transfer to Ferozepur Range, had earlier worked in Tarn Taran for a long period and was involved in nefarious activities with some narcotics smugglers. During the years 2013 and 2014 he had played a big role in providing protection to smugglers operating in his jurisdiction and he himself was organizing smuggling and trafficking of narcotics through various associates, Sidhu added.

The STF chief said the accused had made recoveries of narcotics in the past, but with the motive of obtaining illegal gratification from those in his custody on the promise of helping them in these cases, he got some of them acquitted, Sidhu revealed.

Sharing more details, Sidhu said the STF was already analyzing the cases acquitted of commercial quantity narcotics recovered during the period of last five years. On receipt of information from field units, it was found that in case FIR No.155/2013, FIR No. 100/2013 and FIR No.85/2013 of district Tarn Taran acquittal by the trial courts were on grounds that Inspector Inderjit Singh, who held the substantive rank of Head Constable at the time of registration of cases and subsequent investigation, was not competent to investigate the case as per the provisions/rules of the NDPS Act, 1985.

Sidhu said the accused Inspector had deliberately committed glaring discrepancies during investigation of the cases which appeared to be an attempt to favour the accused. During investigations it has come to light that the shortcomings were in a similar pattern in many cases. “These cases were referred to IGP/Border Zone and SSP/Tarn Taran, who in their reports ascertained these facts and recommended criminal action against the accused Inspector Inderjit Singh and DSP Jaswant Singh under section 59(2) of the NDPS Act, 1985.

He informed that Inspector Inderjit Singh was already facing a case registered against him by Punjab Vigilance Bureau under section 7, 8, 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The case is still under investigation.

Sidhu asserted that the investigations will unearth the entire network of smugglers and none found involved will be spared. The investigation into the case had been entrusted to Mukhwinder Singh AIG/STF, Jalandhar under the supervision of Pramod Ban, IGP/STF Jalandhar Zone.

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