To disrupt drug supply chain: Punjab cops take over 900 peddlers into preventive custody - Hindustan Times
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To disrupt drug supply chain: Punjab cops take over 900 peddlers into preventive custody

By, Chandigarh
Jul 10, 2024 08:22 AM IST

As per the data accessed by Hindustan Times, most of the arrests have been made from Tarn Taran, followed by Amritsar Rural and Gurdaspur police districts. Police refused to share district-wise breakup since the drive was still ongoing.

As many as 974 habitual offenders or suspected peddlers have been taken into preventive custody starting from June 6 to July 6 by Punjab Police in the ongoing drive against drugs in the past one month, officials said on Monday.

The action by Punjab Police has been taken under Section 110 of CrPC and 129 of BNNS
The action by Punjab Police has been taken under Section 110 of CrPC and 129 of BNNS

As per the data accessed by Hindustan Times, most of the arrests have been made from Tarn Taran, followed by Amritsar Rural and Gurdaspur police districts. Police refused to share district-wise breakup since the drive was still ongoing.

According to a senior police official of the Special Task Force (STF) against drugs, the arrests have been under Section 110 of CrPC starting June 6 and under Section 129 of the newly introduced Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita (BNNS), which has replaced CrPC post-June 30.

This section deals with ‘security for good behaviour from habitual offenders’ under which any suspect or habitual offender can be taken into preventive custody for a maximum of 10-15 days following court procedure.

Once arrested these habitual offenders are sent to judicial custody and are lodged in different prisons of the state.

According to a senior STF official, monitoring this operation, post-release also a close watch will be kept on the persons.

“A person can be kept into preventive arrest for a maximum period of 10-15 days. The strategy aims to give a signal to those involved in drugs that police are watching them. Even after their release, cops will keep a close watch on their conduct. In future, if the need arises, they can be taken into preventive custody again. The other aim of this drive is to disrupt the supply chain,” the officer quoted above said, pleading anonymity.

According to the STF chief and special DGP Kuldeep Singh, the district police in consultation with the STF and the intelligence department have done a detailed analysis of the suspects and habitual offenders linked with drug supply.

“The idea is to have some deterrent for those people who are habitual offenders and suspects who are either on bail or have not been arrested so far due to one or another. We are also monitoring and analysing their financial status, and transactions as well,” the STF chief added.

Earlier cops tried to use PIT-NDPS Act

Earlier, an attempt was made to take repeat drug traffickers into preventive custody under the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (PIT-NDPS) Act, 1988. However, the plan hit a roadblock after the home department was slow in giving mandatory sanctions.

As per information, the Punjab Police had sent around 60 cases to the home department, but so far, none has been cleared in the past more than four months.

This is despite CM Bhagwant Mann-led state government having given a go-ahead to implement the PIT-NDPS on January 24 last year. PIT-NDPS Act’s Section 3 empowers the government to detain people engaging in illicit trafficking of drugs and psychotropic substances, Section 9 provides for the constitution of an advisory board for looking into grievances of those being taken into custody. Punjab Police had also reconstituted a three-member advisory committee headed by Justice Shabihul Hasnain (retd), with advocates Suveer Sheokand and Divanshu Jain as its members.

The Narcotics Bureau also had sent three such cases, involving big drug smugglers, around six months ago, but the home department seems to have put that too in cold storage.

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