Zee Media Bureau
Chandigarh: Punjab`s former DGP (prisons) Shashi Kant has alleged that ministers from major political parties, like Shiromani Akali Dal and Congress, in the state are hand in glove with the drug mafia.
In a statement, Shashi Kant told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that he had submitted the list of the names of the ministers to the then state government around six years ago.
The former DGP of jails in Punjab also alleged that politicians use the profits generated by the drug trade for election purposes.
The state police help these ministers in running the business, added Shashi Kant.
He had recently written a letter to the court on the drug menace in Punjab. His letter was considered as a PIL and he submitted a detailed report on the menace to the court on Monday.
The High Court has sought a reply from the Punjab government over this allegation.
Rubbishing the allegation, the Punjab government accused Shashi Kant of having political ambitions. "Why didn`t he take action then when he was serving as the Jail DGP of Punjab? What is the point of levelling allegations now," a news channel quoted Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal as saying.
"It seems he is moving towards contesting elections. He wants to act as a hero. When he was the DGP, he never informed. Till date no politician`s name has come up, as per my information. We dismissed three ASIs two or three days back. They were found supporting drug peddlers," Punjab Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal added.
Last year, Shashi Kant had openly pointed out that the drug mafia was freely operating inside Punjab jails with the "patronage" of police officials.
The then DGP even said he was under "threat" from the drug mafia as he had initiated steps to control the use of drugs inside jail premises in Punjab.
Shashi Kant had earlier also said he would expose the nexus between the drug mafia and `influential people` in the state.
Punjab, which shares a 553-km-long fenced international boundary with Pakistan, is a major transit and destination point for drugs coming from the Afghanistan-Pakistan route.
Recent studies have indicated that over 60 percent of people in rural areas of the state could be addicted to drugs.
With just 1.5 percent of the country`s geographical area, the frontier state has earned the dubious distinction of recovery of the highest volume of drugs in the country in recent years.
The total drug seizure in the state in recent years is much higher with multiple agencies like the Border Security Force (BSF), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, customs department, anti-narcotics cell of Punjab Police and others involved in the recovery process.
(With IANS inputs)