Days after replacing the chief of Special Task Force (STF) on drugs in Punjab, the state's Congress government on Thursday ordered that the STF will work independently of the police.
The State Narcotics Control Bureau has also been merged with the STF to make the anti-drugs machinery more efficient.
"With a view to augment and strengthen the STF and to increase its resources for enforcement of anti-drugs steps, the government has decided that the STF will work as an independent/autonomous vertical of the Police Department on the lines of the Intelligence Wing," an official spokesperson said.
The orders to this effect were issued on Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's directions.
Brought with much fanfare nearly 17 months back to spearhead the state's anti-drugs campaign, senior Punjab Police officer Harpreet Singh Sidhu was removed as STF chief on September 8 and IPS officer Mohammad Mustafa appointed STF DGP on "administrative grounds".
The sudden move was seen as toning down of the government's anti-drugs campaign as the STF's actions and reports had caused political discomfort to the government. Sidhu, an ADGP-rank officer of the 1992 IPS batch, had actively led the STF over the past one year.
Sidhu has since been appointed Special Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister.
The government had earlier ordered that Sidhu as STF chief will report directly to the Chief Minister. However, this year, his wings were clipped and ordered to report to Director General of Police Suresh Arora.
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