Punjab govt’s consent to SP’s plea has STF red-faced
The outcome is seen as a setback for the STF chief Harpreet Sidhu, who was handpicked by Amarinder to lead the state government’s fight against drugs and catch the big fish.punjab Updated: Dec 15, 2017 09:05 IST
The consent of the Punjab government to transfer the drug case in the high court has left chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s brain-child, the STF red-faced.
Moga SSP Raj Jit Singh Hundal sought transfer of the case, alleging bias, by STF chief Harpreet Sidhu. The state government’s move to readily agree has not shown the STF in a positive light.Hundal’s name cropped up in the case after the STF nabbed the then CIA Incharge of Kapurthala and Inspector Inderjit Singh with 4 kg of heroin. Since Inderjit, now dismissed from service, had served under Hundal a number of times, the STF also summoned the SSP in the case. In the charge-sheet that the STF has filed, Hundal’s name crops up in Inderjit’s statements.
The outcome is seen as a setback for the STF chief Harpreet Sidhu, who was handpicked by Amarinder to lead the state government’s fight against drugs and catch the big fish.
Sources said the move by state’s advocate general Atul Nanda not to resist Hundal’s demand in court has left an impression that the government also indirectly supported Hundal’s statement that the ‘STF chief is biased against the SSP’. There is also surprise at Nanda making an appearance as his wife was in court to give the government’s version on the issue.
“The AG’s stand is the state government’s stand. The AG may have told the court that the government wants the probe in the sensitive drug case without any question, but it has put the functioning of the STF in the dock,”a senior official of the STF said.
Politics at play
Sources say the stand of the government reflects internal politics in the echelons of the state government. Hundal is considered to be the blue-eyed boy of Punjab DGP Suresh Arora. It is also known that the STF and the office of the DGP Punjab do not share a cordial relationship. Hundal also played a key role in cracking cases of targeted killings that the state police busted recently.
“Why did the government not back the STF is the big question? The answer could lie in behind-the-scene developments. It is hard to believe that the AG’s stand in this sensitive case has come without consulting the chief minister’s office,” a senior official of the government said.