The Special Task Force (STF) has claimed that strictness in Punjab has forced the peddlers to change the smuggling routes.
STF chief Harpreet Singh Sidhu said 180 foreign nationals had been arrested in 147 cases registered over three years. Of them, 61 were arrested in 2017, 81 in 2018, 37 in 2019 and one this year. He said the arrests indicated that Delhi had become a major centre from where foreign nationals had been supplying drugs to Punjab.
The STF chief said owing to enhanced vigil, the smugglers exploited new sea, air and land routes many of which were under the garb of legal trade and commerce, he said.
In the last three years since April 2017, a total of 114 criminal cases have been registered against 148 police personnel and departmental inquiries initiated against 61. Besides, 47 police personnel have so far been dismissed and 17 suspended. Sidhu said it was the policy of the state government to take strict action against all such anti-social elements.
Sidhu said the police forfeited properties worth Rs 18.46 crore in 2017, Rs 11.37 crore in 2018, Rs 37.69 crore in 2019 and Rs 1.68 crore till March 31, 2020. Apart from this, 58 cases are pending with competent authority for confirmation of property worth approximately Rs 20.5 crore.
He said since the inception of STF in April 2017, law enforcement agencies had recovered 1,376 kg of heroin, 1,515 kg of opium, 1,24,728 kg of poppy husk, 6,053 kg of ganja and 2,74,33,119 pills/capsules along with crores of rupees of drug money . He stated that the recovery of 464 kg of heroin in 2019 was the highest as compared to the last five years.
STF chief Harpreet Singh Sidhu said they had arrested 580 POs, 1,885 absconders, 125 bail jumpers, 106 parole jumpers under the NDPS Act from 2017 till March 31, 2020.He said success had been achieved in convictions in NDPS cases with an overall conviction rate of 68 pc in 2017.
During 2018, overall conviction rate was 59 per cent, 64 per cent in 2019 and 68 per cent till March 31, 2020
The STF police station by itself had an exceptional conviction rate of 100 per cent, he claimed.