Punjab deputy CM forms high-level panel to probe delay in investigation into drug cases - Hindustan Times
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Punjab deputy CM forms high-level panel to probe delay in investigation into drug cases

Nov 28, 2021 01:21 AM IST

Investigation into drug cases has been slow with STF reportedly citing the presence of sealed cover reports with the HC as a reason; Punjab deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa has asked for a report to clarify all such issues that the affecting the probe

Jalandhar Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who also holds the home portfolio, has formed a high-level committee to probe the delay in handling of files related to cases related to drug smuggling racket in the state. The committee comprises chief secretary Anirudh Tewari; principal secretary (home) Anurag Verma and DGP Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota. The panel has been asked to submit its report in seven days.

Punjab deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa has said that he wanted to ensure that the state’s drug menace was effectively tackled and for that officers need to get to the root and investigate professionally. (HT File Photo)
Punjab deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa has said that he wanted to ensure that the state’s drug menace was effectively tackled and for that officers need to get to the root and investigate professionally. (HT File Photo)

“According to the file, additional chief secretary (home) has written three times to the Special Task Force (STF) chief to carry forward investigation in the drug trafficking cases, as the government and Punjab and Haryana high court did not stop it from conducting a probe. It is reflected from the file that the STF ignored the letters of ACS (home); investigation into high-profile drug related cases has been not done under the plea of sealed reports pending with the high court,” reads the letter, that Randhawa had written to principal secretary (home) on October 28, asking him to identify officials/personnels responsible for the delay in taking drug trafficking cases to logical conclusion. The note for formation of a panel has now followed that letter.

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Randhawa, the MLA from Dera Baba Nanak (Gurdaspur), has directed the committee to explore four points. The first is that with sealed reports pending in the HC, is there any bar on the STF to conduct investigation. The second issue is on whether the STF can take up drug cases registered in Patiala and Fatehgarh districts.

The third question the ministers wants answered is, “When the ACS (home) issued directions to the STF chief thrice, why was the direction not followed. In the last query, Randhawa writes that a petition on drug cases dating back to 2013, has been pending for several years; the state government, too, didn’t do a proper follow-up of the case in the high court after May 23, 2018.

“Even the officer of the advocate general never filed an application. It has been observed that the case has been not properly dealt between 2018 and 2021 and intentionally delayed,” Randhawa has observed in his note.

NEXT HEARING IN HC ON DECEMBER 6

STF sources said that it will file a reply if the Punjab government asks it to, saying that previously too, they had filed factual replies. The Punjab and Haryana high court will take up the matter in the drugs cases on December 6; the Punjab government has submitted to the HC that it has no objection to opening sealed cover reports on drugs menace in the state, while alleging involvement of influential persons.

Randhawa, who was in Kapurthala, on Saturday, to chair a meeting of representatives of farmer unions and sugar mills told HT, “The move to form the panel is meant to fix accountability of officials for delays in investigation indrugs case. Our government will again plead in the HC on December 6 for opening the sealed reports in the drugs case.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    A staff correspondent, based in Jalandhar covers Doaba Region of Punjab. Reports about Punjab Police, Enforcement Directorate, politics, corruption, legal, rural areas, socio-economic issues and technical education besides having specialisation in the investigative stories.

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