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Punjab’s anti-drug STF chief finally gets an office at state secretariat

The CM had announced that the STF chief will get an office within the chief minister’s office on the second floor of the secretariat. However, that was awaited.

punjab Updated: Feb 27, 2018 22:17 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab Police,Punjab STF,Harpreet Singh Sidhu
Punjab additional director general of police (ADGP) Harpreet Singh Sidhu(HT FIle)

A year after the formation of a special task force (STF) of the police to fight the drug menace in Punjab, the state government has finally allotted an office at the state secretariat to its head, additional director general of police (ADGP) Harpreet Singh Sidhu — room number 28 on the third floor.

This is the third office allotted to Sidhu, besides one at the police headquarters in Chandigarh and another at the intelligence wing headquarters in Mohali, where a floor has been provided to the STF announced by Captain Amarinder Singh after the Congress came to power last March too.

Since guidelines say the STF head reports directly to the CM and not the director general of police (DGP), the CM had announced that Sidhu will get an office within the chief minister’s office (CMO) on the second floor of the secretariat. However, that was awaited.

“Now the office has been given because the government does not want the impression that the STF is not functioning properly or has lost its mandate,” underlined a senior functionary at the CMO not willing to be named.

Another senior government officer said on the condition of anonymity, “Because the STF headed by Sidhu was not given adequate workforce as defined in the mandate, and was also not provided access to technical surveillance initially, the impression was that the STF is being marginalised because some senior officers in the police do not have good relations with Sidhu.”

The STF was also left red-faced when the Moga senior superintendent of police (SSP) Raj Jit Singh, whose name was linked with the recovery of drugs from a police inspector, moved the Punjab and Haryana high court arguing that Sidhu was biased against him and wanted to implicate him in a false case. The government had even sided with Raj Jit through the advocate general after which the court admitted his request and transferred the case to a special investigation team (SIT) headed by DGP S Chattopadhyaya.

Meanwhile, an officer from the general administration department (GAD) that deals with allotment of offices in the secretariat said, “Since the STF chief also has the mandate to coordinate with the other departments on the issue of eradication of drugs, he needed an office for carrying out general meetings at the secretariat too. We got directions to allot him an office last week and they were immediately complied with.”

The STF head could not be contacted for comment.

First Published: Feb 27, 2018 22:17 IST