Nitin Jain, DW Bureau, Chandigarh
The Punjab Government on Saturday shifted high profile IPS officer, H S Sidhu from the post of the post Task Force (STF) Chief and posted DGP (Human Rights) Mohammed Mustafa in his place. A Home Department order said that Sidhu has been appointed as Special Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister under a separate order to be issued by the Chief Secretary, Punjab. Mustafa will continue to hold the additional charge of the DGP (Human Rights), Punjab, said the order.
After the Capt Amarinder Singh Government was formed in Punjab, Sidhu had been posted as the STF Chief and was given the mandate to go after the drug smugglers and cleanse the mess which has plagued the state of Punjab for the past one decade. Sidhu’s team did commendable job in tightening the noose around the smugglers even as several people connected with drug trade were arrested in the past over one year. Initially, he was given the charge of ADGP (Border Zone), but he was ordered to report directly to the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) on probe against drug smugglers and peddlers.
The present DGP, Suresh Arora who is due to retire on September 30 but is in the process of getting an extension soon, was reportedly not comfortable with this kind of arrangement made by the State Government as this meant diluting his superintendence and control over the entire police force. After the STF going after SSP Raj Jit Singh in its probe into the drug trade, the police force have been divided over the way the probe was being carried out, leading to several factions in the Punjab Police headquarters.
The rift among the top police brass, with DGP Suresh Arora as well as the State Intelligence Chief Dinkar Gupta, another professional officer, on one side and Sidhu and Siddharth Chattopadhyay who is leading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) looking into the drug menace, on the other side have only widened in the past two months.
DGP Mohammed Mustafa, whose wife Razia Sultana is a Cabinet Minister in Punjab, has also been a contender for the post of the State Police Chief, but so far the Capt Amarinder Government has not shows any signs to post him as the State DGP. With his posting as the STF Chief, Mustafa has somewhat been accommodated by the State Government in a relatively better position in the State Police.