166 peddlers caught, 14 kg drugs seized in statewide crackdown - Hindustan Times
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166 peddlers caught, 14 kg drugs seized in statewide crackdown

By, Chandigarh
Jun 17, 2024 06:46 AM IST

166 arrested, 140 FIRs filed, 2.7kg heroin seized in Punjab in massive anti-drug operation involving 3,000 personnel, 450 teams across 280 hotspots.

As many as 166 persons were arrested, 140 FIRs registered and 2.7 kg heroin along with other drugs were seized during a massive cordon-and-search operation across Punjab on Sunday, said Special DGP (law and order) Arpit Shukla.

Special DGP Arpit Shukla (left) with DIG (Ropar range) Nilambari Jagdale (centre) and other officers during a search operation in Mohali on Sunday. (HT photo)
Special DGP Arpit Shukla (left) with DIG (Ropar range) Nilambari Jagdale (centre) and other officers during a search operation in Mohali on Sunday. (HT photo)

The operation involved over 3,000 personnel in 450 police teams who cordoned off 280 drug hotspots. Besides heroin, the police seized 1.50 lakh drug money, 12.2 kg poppy husk, 5,820 intoxicating tablets and a huge quantity of illicit liquor and lahan, 16 motorcycles and three cars, Shukla said.

The operation was conducted on the directions of director general of police (DGP) Gaurav Yadav from 11am to 2 pm simultaneously in all 28 police districts of the state. Range ADGPs/IGPs/DIGs and CPs/SSPs were asked to personally supervise the operation.

The commissioners of police and senior superintendents of police were told to plan this operation in a meticulous manner by identifying drug hotspots, mainly points of sale which have become safe haven for peddlers.

Shukla, who joined deputy inspector general (DIG), Ropar range, Nilambari Jagdale and senior superintendent of police Sandeep Garg in SAS Nagar for the operation, said the police have been following a multi-pronged strategy under which enforcement, deaddiction and prevention are the focus.

“Under enforcement part, points of sale are being targeted by booking small peddlers, while illegally acquired properties of big fish are being forfeited under Section 68F of the NDPS Act,” he said, adding that the second line of defence along the border has also been strengthened to prevent smuggling of drugs from across the border.

The Special DGP said that on the DGP’s directions, a major reshuffle of cops (constables to inspectors), who have been posted for three or more years at one station, is under way in all the police stations.

He said officials have been categorically told to look into forward and backward linkages of the cases being registered under the NDPS Act and take strict action against those found in collusion with drug smugglers. Eye is being kept on the drug smugglers lodged in jails as well, he added.

According to Shukla, amid the drive against drugs, heroin recovery has jumped 5.6 times since 2017 in the state. As per information, about 1,346 kg heroin was seized in 2023, 594 kg in 2022, 571 kg in 2021, 760 kg in 2020, 460 kg in 2019, 424 kg in 2018 and 179 kg heroin was recovered in 2017.

Similarly, the conviction rate in NDPS cases has also improved from 59% in 2018 to 81% in 2023, he said, adding that apart from the enforcement of laws against drug trafficking, the police have also launched a special campaign against drugs as part of prevention to educate the masses and get support of the general public in fight against drugs. As part of deaddiction, drug consumers caught with little quantity of drugs are exhorted to take the opportunity for deaddiction and rehabilitation under Section 64-A of the NDPS Act, he added.

Sports event marks beginning of anti-drug drive

A special statewide drive against drugs commenced with the Fatehgarh Sahib police organising Fateh Cup, a basketball event, at Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College on Saturday. Fatehgarh Sahib SSP Ravjot Kaur Grewal said the event brought together the community, especially youth. Under this drive, commissioners of police and SSPs will organise events in their respective districts to engage non-government organisations, clubs and people, especially youths. The events will include sports tournaments besides holding awareness camps, dramas, nukkad nataks, etc., to sensitise people to drugs.

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