Drug menace in Punjab has reached such an extent that in the last 10 years as many as 78,040 drug peddlers have been arrested in the 67,530 first information reports (FIRs) registered across the state.
There has been an increase of 300% in the last decade if the figure of 4,195 drug peddlers arrested in 2003 is compared to that of 16,821 in 2013 as per the Punjab police records.
The data assumes significance as drug menace in Punjab has been a much-debated issue among the political parties in the wake of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The Punjab gover nment informed the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday in the international drug racket case, involving Jagdish Bhola, that the state police had so far arrested 58 people and had seized 74 vehicles, 9,050 US/Canadian dollars, 5,100 kg of opium, weapons and other drugs.
The information was revealed during the resumed hearing of a petition filed by industrialist Jagjit Singh Chahal, a co-accused in the international drug racket being probed by the Punjab police’s special investigating team. Chahal has sought an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the case. Jagjit Singh Chahal, along with his brother Paramjit Singh Chahal, was on March 22 granted bail by the high court in the drugs case.
The court was also informed that in the last 10 years in its antidrug drive, the state police had seized around 12,428 quintal of poppy husk, 7,177 kg of opium and 1,653 kg of heroin. Also, with a focus on street drug peddling, in 2013 the state police have seized over three lakh injections and over three crore capsules and pills used for intoxication.
Appearing for the state, additional advocate general Anupinder Singh Grewal submitted that the Punjab police were competent enough to investigate the case and there was no need to hand over the probe to any other independent agency.