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It’s DGP vs DGPs in Punjab as top cop names two others in ‘drug racket’ investigation

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DGP Chattopadhyaya has also told the high court that he was being framed for suicide abetment to derail his team’s probe.

Chandigarh: One of Punjab’s 12 director generals of police (DGPs) has named two others in an investigation on the alleged involvement of a senior superintendent of police (SSP) in a drug haul racket running into crores of rupees.

The Punjab & Haryana High Court had formed a special investigation team (SIT) under DGP (human resource development) Siddhartha Chattopadhyaya to look into allegations of Moga SSP Raj Jit Singh’s role in the racket.

In an application moved Friday before a special division bench of the court dealing with drug cases, Chattopadhyaya said the team’s investigation had “brought to light the role of DGP Suresh Arora and DGP (intelligence) Dinkar Gupta”.

“Several significant facts and pointers, including reportedly the benami house of a DGP, are being investigated to confirm their involvement in the case,” the application added.

Arora categorically denied the allegations.

“I have learnt that an application filed by my colleague in the honourable high court today carries my name. Though I have not received any official intimation of the same, but from what I have learnt from media persons, I categorically deny the allegations levelled in the application. A detailed reply, if needed, will be given at the appropriate time,” he said.

ThePrint reached Gupta for comment on Chattopadhyaya’s application but there was no response until the time of publishing this report.

Chattopadhyaya’s application also states that ever since he was tasked with the case, an attempt was being made to frame him for the abetment of Amritsar-based businessman Inderpreet Chadha’s suicide – a bid, the DGP alleged, “to pressure” him to “change the course of the investigation”.

He said he had received two questionnaires from the officer investigating the suicide. Alleging that the investigation into the suicide case was “anything but fair” and being carried out at the behest of “senior police officers”, Chattopadhyaya requested the court to hand over the investigation to the CBI.

Appearing on his behalf, senior advocate Anupam Gupta lashed out at DGP Arora and “his men” for “hounding Chattopadhyaya even though he had absolutely nothing to do with the suicide case”. He said the “DGP was actively directing and controlling the investigation into the suicide case” in order to keep Chattopadhyaya from inquiring into the Raj Jit affair. The accused in the suicide case were being tortured to name Chattopadhyaya, he added.

The special division bench headed by Justice Suryakant subsequently stayed the investigation against Chattopadhyaya in the suicide case, and asked Punjab police to report the details of its probe in the matter to the court on 23 April.

What is Chattopadhyaya investigating?

In June last year, the special task force (STF) to control drug abuse had arrested crime investigation agency inspector Inderjit Singh for his alleged involvement in helping drug smugglers he arrested get acquitted.

A raid by the STF on his official residence led to the recovery of four kilograms of heroin, an AK-47 and other weapons, and Rs 16 lakh. Inderjit allegedly admitted to his links with cross-border drug smugglers and was immediately dismissed from service.

In Inderjit’s interrogation, Raj Jit was allegedly identified as his “patron”, following which the SSP was also questioned by the STF. In December, Raj Jit moved the high court, alleging that STF head Harpreet Singh Sidhu was “inimical” towards him and seeking that the probe against him be shifted to another officer or an independent agency.

It was on his application that the high court ordered the creation of a three-member SIT under Chattopadhyaya. The SIT has since submitted two interim reports to the court in sealed cover.

Chattopadhyaya is expected to submit another report to the court on the next date of hearing on 9 May.

The suicide case

On 3 January, businessman Inderpreet Chadha, a cousin of slain liquor baron Ponty Chadha, committed suicide. A viral video of his octogenarian father with a woman school principal is believed to be the trigger, and Chadha allegedly left behind two suicide notes naming several people. Nine people have been arrested so far for allegedly abetting Chadha’s suicide.

Chadha’s family members also handed over to police his diary/notes from 2016, wherein he reportedly named Chattopadhyaya as well as a retired and an incumbent judge of the high court. Chadha was reportedly upset over certain judicial orders passed by a commission while Chattopadhyaya was a member and the retired high court judge its chairperson.

Repeatedly referring to the two high court judges named in Chadha’s notes, advocate Gupta told the court Friday that if the suicide investigation was bona fide, the judicial officers should also have been probed, if not arrested.

“All the orders signed by Chattopadhayaya as member of the NRI commission were dictated by the retired high court judge steering the commission and signed by him as well,” he argued.

This report has been updated with Arora’s comment.

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