04th August, 2021 – Chandigarh: In the backdrop of Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and other party leaders targeting the Chief Minister for not exposing the “big fish” in drug trafficking, the state Home Department has shot off a strongly worded letter to the Special Task Force chief, asserting the delay, if any, was on part of the STF alone.
The department has questioned the delay of three years in the requisite action.
The letter, written by Anurag Aggarwal, Additional Chief Secretary, Home, on Monday seems to be the latest in a fast exchange of letters between him and STF chief ADGP Harpreet Singh Sidhu over the issue of catching the “big fish” in drugs smuggling. Sources said the STF was instructed earlier to take action against top smugglers or expose the police-smuggling racket, as was claimed three years ago when the name of a SSP cropped up in an investigation by the STF. The STF responded that the investigation report was already submitted in the High Court and there were no further instructions by the court or the government.
Responding to this in the latest letter, Aggarwal pointed out that it was needless to say after three years that there was no government or HC order to investigate the matter.
“The STF does not require any government or HC order to probe the drug trafficking matters. Moreover, in this case, there are no stay orders from the HC. In case the STF has cogent evidence against the said ‘big fish’ or even otherwise, if the STF is of the view that the matter needs to be investigated, nothing stops you from doing so. The entire delay is on part of the STF,” the ACS said. ADGP Sidhu said he would reply to the letter instead of responding through the media. He said there seemed to be some misunderstanding on drugs smuggling cases investigated separately by the police and the STF.
The CM was under fire by Cabinet colleagues, Sidhu and the Opposition for allegedly failing to catch any top drugs smuggler in the four-and-a-half year tenure. The CM had made a poll promise that he would take action against drugs smugglers within a month of forming the government.
In 2018, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had asked the chief of an anti-drug STF, set up by CM Capt Amarinder Singh to catch the “big fish” in drug trade, to file a status report on the entire matter.
Courtesy : The Tribune