Published On: Sat, Sep 8th, 2018

Punjab govt appoints new head of anti-drugs STF

Chandigarh: The Punjab government has appointed a new head of the special task force set up last year to tackle the drug menace in the state.

IPS officer Mohammed Mustafa who is the husband of Punjab minister Razia Sultana, was today appointed as the head of anti-drugs STF.

Additional Director General of Police Harpreet Singh Sidhu has been replaced as chief of the anti-drugs STF by Punjab State Human Rights Commission DGP Mohammed Mustafa, an official said Saturday.

Mustafa, who is the husband of Punjab minister Razia Sultana, will continue to hold the additional charge of DGP (Human Rights).

Sidhu has been appointed Special Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, an official spokesperson said.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had made the drug problem a major election issue in 2017, promising results within weeks of coming into power.

He set up the STF soon after becoming chief minister and brought Sidhu, who was then on central deputation in Naxal-hit Chhattisgarh, to head it.

He was initially asked to report directly to the Chief Minister’s Office.

Chief of anti-drugs STF Harpreet Singh Sidhu was appointed as Special Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister.

However, when Amarinder Singh decided to treat STF as another wing of Punjab Police, like Vigilance and Intelligence, Sidhu is learnt to have resisted the move.

There were also reports of a tussle between Sidhu and Director General of Police Suresh Arora, which also became a cause of embarrassment for the state government.

The STF under Sidhu arrested over 18,000 alleged drug peddlers in one year.

He also started a Drug Abuse Prevention Officers (DAPOs) programme, aimed at involving the civil society in the fight against drugs.

The Punjab government is also likely to pick soon a head for a special task force to probe incidents of police firing at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan in 2015 during the agitation against desecration of religious scriptures.

The names of Additional DGP Ishwar Singh, Inspector General (Headquarters) Jatinder Singh Aulakh and IG (Bathinda Range) MF Farooqui are doing the rounds for the post, sources said.

PTI

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