Chandigarh: The Special Task Force (STF) of the Punjab Police on Monday arrested an inspector on the charge of drug trafficking and seized a large haul of drugs, arms and ammunition from his official quarters.
The raids were carried out in the morning at inspector Inderjit Singh’s residence at the Jalandhar police lines, from where he was arrested, and his official quarters at Phagwara.
While drugs were seized from Phagwara, weapons were found at Jalandhar, STF chief and Additional Director General of Police, H S Sidhu, said at a press conference. “We hope that with this arrest, we will be able to unearth a network of drug smugglers,” he said.
Police seized 7 kgs of narcotics, including 4 kgs of heroin, one Italy-made 9 mm pistol, live cartridges of various calibres and Rs 16.50 lakh in cash.
The inspector’s involvement in drug trafficking came to light when the STF, set up by the Congress government to tackle the drug menace in the state, was analysing cases pertaining to large recoveries of narcotics in the last five years.
Its sleuths discovered that Inderjit, as inspector, had seized a large amount of drugs in 2013-14.
But, a pattern was noticed in which most of the accused managed to get acquitted in cases where the inspector had himself carried out investigations and seized drugs.
“They were repeatedly acquitted on the grounds that the inspector was not competent enough to investigate the case as he held the rank of head constable. The minimum rank under NDPS rules to investigate such cases is Assistant Sub Inspector,” the STF chief said.
“There was also a deliberate attempt to tamper with the evidence in several cases,” he said, adding that there were “glaring discrepancies” in investigations, which appeared to be a “deliberate attempt to favour the accused”.
In 2013-14, Inderjeet was working as a Crime Investigation Agency inspector in Tarn Taran and had made recoveries of 20 kgs of heroin and 54 packets of poppy husk in three cases. In all these cases, the accused were acquitted, Sidhu said.
Then, STF referred these cases to IG, Border Range, Mukhwinder Singh, and the Tarn Taran SSP, who recommended criminal action against the inspector under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
The STF chief refused to comment when asked if anyone had been shielding the accused.
Asked if any political link had come to the fore with this arrest, Sidhu said it was a matter of investigation. “In case anything comes up, we will take action as per law,” he added.
Meanwhile, Inderjit’s family members alleged that he was arrested at the behest of a senior police officer.
“He (Inderjit) had a personal enmity with a senior police officer and that is why he was arrested. We will approach the DGP tomorrow and present him with the facts of the case. The house in Phagwara from where the recovery was made was not even in his name,” claimed Nitin Chhabra, the inspector’s son-in-law.