The recent arrest of five policemen for indulging in drug trafficking and extortion case has brought a major embarrassment to the whole of police department in Punjab that was already suffering severe image crisis.
It is learnt that a police party comprising personnel from Counter Intelligence unit of the state police snatched 300 gm heroin from drug trafficker and extorted Rs 8 lakh under threat by impersonating as Special Task Force (STF) unit from Fazilka and released him without taking any legal action.
While disclosing the same, Harpreet Singh Sidhu ADGP-cum-Chief Special Task Force (STF) admitted that there was a nexus between drug traffickers and police existing in Punjab. His admission about the rogue elements in the law enforcement agency was enough to justify the public losing faith in Khaki.
Arrests, suspensions, registration of cases, compulsory retirements and also frequent transfers of police officers at all levels have become a regular part of news reporting in Punjab these days.
About three months ago, a 2007-batch IPS officer Inderbir Singh, who was among the three-member Punjab cadre police officials’ panel for being appointed as the SSP of Chandigarh, along with four of his subordinates including a DSP, had landed in an extortion case, allegedly committed when he was posted as the top cop in Sangrur district.
During the preliminary investigation, conducted by Inderbir’s successor Mandeep Singh Sidhu, a PPS officer, the crime involved a sum of nearly Rs 19 lakh that they all allegedly extorted from two farmers while threatening to implicate them in a murder case. Sitting SSP had even recommended an FIR against all five cops with also suggesting a thorough Vigilance Bureau probe, after finding them guilty in his initial probe. Now getting shunted from the field, they are all facing VB inquiry.
The incident not only put a blot on the uniform of an IPS officer but also snatched away a chance to get appointed as SSP Chandigarh, which is a prestigious post for Punjab cadre IPS officers.
Then, a CIA-staff Amritsar inspector Inderjit Singh was arrested about two months back and in that case the STF chief had claimed that the cop in question was having links with major drug suppliers in Amritsar. The CIA-staff inspector was also accused of being instrumental in seizing large quantities of drugs from peddlers over the years and then establishing himself as the bane of drug peddlers in whichever district he was posted to.
Related to this, the STF had also issued summons to Moga Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Raj Jit Singh Hundal.
About two months back, Bathinda SSP Naveen Singla, an IPS officer of 2009 batch, and a DSP Gurjit Singh Romana, known as the most honest officer of the district, landed in trouble for allegedly helping a narcotics peddler by illegally preparing an FIR cancellation report. The two officers faced major embarrassment when a 2011 batch IPS officer Nanak Singh, posted as SSP Faridkot, acting upon the directions of Bathinda zone IGP, conducted an inquiry and found the FIR cancellation totally wrong.
After directing the police to file the challan in the court and arrest the accused, the IGP M S Chhina then directed the DIG Bathinda range Ashish Chaudhary to ascertain the actual role of the two police officers.
Though the IGP had asked him to submit the report within 10 days, the DIG has not yet come up with the report even after crossing the deadline.
The system from top to bottom all has been corroded. About two months ago, an SHO, ASI and three constables posted at the Charik police station in Moga district were suspended for allegedly torturing a youth and taking bribe from him.
Meanwhile, there were reports of a sub-inspector smuggling drugs from the police ‘malkhana.’ Further, a head warder at Central Jail Bathinda was arrested with hundreds of tablets of banned habit-forming drugs. Interestingly, the shady cop was not only involved in supplying it to the inmates but he was also an addict, as learnt.
In the series, on March 26, SHO Satnampura Police Station in Phagwara was suspended on the charges of shielding a drug peddler. A case was also registered against him for accepting bribe.
Earlier, on March 23, Finance Minister Manpreet Badal himself caught on camera a traffic cop accepting bribe in Ludhiana district.
He shot a video of the episode and forwarded it to Ludhiana police commissioner. But as the cop in question belonged to Khanna, the SSP there suspended the cop in question.
Meanwhile, Punjab government also sent two senior PPS officers Salwinder Singh and Charanjit Singh Sharma on compulsory retirement. The two were facing lot of criticism from different quarters of society. Salwinder is the same SP whose name cropped up during Pathankot Airbase militant attack. Though NIA had given him a clean chit, as learnt, Salwinder was facing several charges of sexual harassment.
Apart from this, a cold war between the offices of Chief Minister and the Director General of Police is also now an open secret. If all this is seen in totality, Khaki is undoubtedly losing its sheen with also making people to withdraw their faith from the state’s law enforcing agency.
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