Published On: Sat, Sep 8th, 2018

Punjab govt likely to replace chief of anti-drugs STF

Chandigarh: The Punjab government has decided to change the head of the special task force set up last year to tackle the drug menace in the state, official sources said.

Chief of anti-drugs STF Harpreet Singh Sidhu will be shifted to CMO.

Additional Director General of Police Harpreet Singh Sidhu will be replaced as chief of the STF on drugs by Punjab State Human Rights Commission DGP Mohammed Mustafa.

Sidhu will be shifted to the Chief Minister’s Office, sources said. The orders are expected soon.

Mustafa is the husband of Punjab minister Razia Sultana.

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 had 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.

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.

IPS officer Mohammed Mustafa who is the husband of Punjab minister Razia Sultana, is likely to be appointed as the chief of anti-drugs STF.

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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