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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Yet another senior IPS officer comes under scanner for criminal links

IPS officer Siddharth Chattopadhyaya is now under the scanner after senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia demanded a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the reported audio-tape expose of Punjab DGP Siddharth Chattopadhyaya, saying the security breach during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Punjab earlier this month could have even resulted in an assassination bid on the Prime Minister.

Majithia also appealed to the Election Commission of India to hold the Congress government accountable for violating high court directives and conducting raids at his residence and harassing his family members even before the court passed its final verdict on his anticipatory bail plea. Majithia said attempts are being made to prevent him from contesting the February 20 Assembly elections and that is why the police have been pressed into service to raid his residences even before the high court passed its verdict on his anticipatory bail plea application.

The Akali leader said, “It seems the law is different for me as the same rules are not applied to Congressmen, be it Sukhpal Khaira, who is accused of drug smuggling, or Sidhu Moosewala, who is accused of firing an AK -47, or even Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) leader Simarjit Singh Bains, against whom non-bailable warrants have been issued.

“The proclaimed offender in the Jagdish Bhola drugs case even talked about recovering RDX and bombs during the Prime Minister’s visit. Only an NIA probe can get to the bottom of this case as well as the subsequent security breach during the PM’s visit, which could have even resulted in an assassination bid on the PM,” Majithia said.

Stating that there are two sets of laws for him and others accused of serious crimes, Majithia, who is contesting the Assembly polls from Majitha in Amritsar district, said the Congress government is yet to proceed against DGP Chattopadhyaya, who was caught on tape addressing a proclaimed offender as his son and even discussing sharing of drug money and fake encounters.

“Leaked audiotapes of Chattopadhyaya’s purported conversation with a dismissed cop Sarabjit Singh, a proclaimed offender in the multi-crore drug racket, have put him on the spot. It is learned that Sarabjit Singh gave ‘instructions’ to Chattopadhyaya for appointments in the name of cracking the whip on drug cartels, shifting notorious prisoners, and also posting certain officials on sensitive postings to recover explosives delivered from Pakistan”, Sentinel Assam reported.

He demanded that all CCTV footage of the DGP’s residence, as well as his phone and the phones of Chief Minister Charanjit Channi, Home Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa, and Vigilance head Harpreet Sidhu, be examined to uncover the entire conspiracy to register a false case against him as well as the compromise of the PM’s security.

Interestingly, it appears that the IPS officer was specially appointed in December last year by Channi after overruling other candidates. A 1986-batch IPS officer, Siddharth Chattopadhyaya, on Friday assumed the additional charge of Director General of Police (DGP) Punjab. According to the orders issued by the state government, Chattopadhyaya would also continue to hold the charge of the DGP, besides the additional charge as Chief Director, State Vigilance Bureau.

Chattopadhyaya isn’t the first IPS officer to be caught having criminal nexus. The role of former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh in the Ambani bomb scare case as well the 100 crores vasooli case brought to the fore how police officers were acting at the behest of their political masters. The case of anti-Hindu hate speech by former IPS officer Mohammad Mustafa, who served as former Director-General of Police (DGP) and is currently an advisor to state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, indicates an increasingly worrying trend of criminalization and politicization of senior police officers and bureaucracy from so-called ‘secular’ sections of society.

IPS Humayun Kabir was found making partisan and politically-colored remarks while addressing a public gathering organized by an NGO in Murshidabad at a time when he was posted as Commissioner Police (CP), Chandannagar Police Commissionerate in the rank of DIG in West Bengal. A serving officer openly assuring to stand by Muslims is indicative of politicization and communalisation of the state police force that is also being seen in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

IPS Humayun Kabir, who also fashions himself as a litterateur, is the toast of Kolkata’s liberal-secular intelligentsia. This trusted confidante of CM Mamata Banerjee was transferred by the Election Commission ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. It must be mentioned that he subsequently joined Mamata Banerjee’s TMC.

On February 1, the I-T department officials carried out a raid at the premises of a former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer in Noida Sector 50 and recovered unaccounted cash worth crores. The ex-IPS officer Ram Narayan Singh is said to be closely associated with the Samajwadi Party.

No wonder, both Punjab police and the government were protecting a criminal like Muktar Ansari by holding him in Ropar jail. Punjab is a crucial border state and such instances of a dreaded criminal being protected by law enforcers indicate the worrying issues within the police force.

While the rot within IPS is seen across the country, in Punjab it has further aided the drug racket to flourish which just wouldn’t be possible without political and police involvement. The fact that the Ludhiana blast accused was an ex-policeman with links to the drug mafia and Khalistanis is an indicator of how deep the rot is and the necessity for urgent police reforms.

(With IANS inputs)

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