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Inspector drug case: STF’s wait on ‘immunity’ to ex-DSP raises eyebrows

Retired DSP Jaswant Singh has not been arrested as the STF is waiting for the plea for immunity from prosecution that he has filed before the home department of the state government

punjab Updated: Jul 07, 2018 10:04 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Inspector drug case,drug case,ex-DSP
Retired DSP Jaswant Singh was supervisory officer of inspector Inderjit Singh, the then in-charge of the crime investigation agency (CIA).(HT Photo)

When the Punjab government is apparently banking on the special task force (STF) of the police to crack down heavily drugs, its stand on “immunity” to a retired deputy superintendent of police (DSP), Jaswant Singh, who is facing serious charges in a drug case involving a since- dismissed inspector, has raised eyebrows.

As per the STF investigation, Jaswant was DSP in Tarn Taran and was supervisory officer of inspector Inderjit Singh, the then in-charge of the crime investigation agency (CIA). Inderjit allegedly tampered with court records to save some smugglers from whom big seizures were made. This has emerged in the STF investigation done after arresting Inderjit from his house in Jalandhar with 4 kg of heroin and other drugs on June 11 last year.

On the basis of this investigation, Jaswant was booked by the STF under sections 218 (public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment), 466 (forgery of record of court), 471 (using a fraud record as genuine), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 384 (extortion) of the India Penal Code, and under the NDPS Act. The challan of this case presented by the STF in a Mohali court on November 20 states clearly that, as supervisory officer of Inderjit, Jaswant had signed all tempered documents which the inspector produced before a court and “was even aware of the tampering done to save the smugglers”. The challan also said that all charges against Jaswant have been proven in the investigation.

But the retired DSP has not been arrested as the STF is waiting for the plea for immunity from prosecution that he has filed before the home department of the state government. The STF has also said in the challan against Inderjit that “Jaswant has filed a plea of ‘immunity’ to the government that is under consideration... and action would be taken against him when his plea would be decided”.

The immunity is provided under section 64 of the NDPS Act, only after sanction from the state or the central government. Many retired police officers whom Hindustan Times contacted, too, confirmed that there was “hardly any instance in the history of Punjab Police wherein immunity was provided”.

“In my career of 30 years in police, I haven’t heard of immunity being provided to even a routine addict for rehabilitation. In cases other than those of NDPS Act, immunity is provided only to those who assure the government that they would make big disclosures and would help the investigating agency,” said a retired DSP from Bathinda.

Jaswant, when contacted, said his immunity plea is pending with the government for the past few months: “I don’t know if the government has accepted it.”

Interestingly, it is a statement by Jaswant in the challan which led to suspicion of the then SSP Raj Jit Singh Hundal’s role in the case, as Jaswant stated that Raj Jit knew everything about Inderjit. When the SSP’s name cropped up in the challan, he moved the Punjab and Haryana high court to plead that he was being framed in the case and the STF chief was biased against him. STF officials were not available for comments. A text message too was sent to STF chief Harpreet Sidhu on the issue, but he didn’t reply.

First Published: Jul 07, 2018 10:03 IST