The illegal drug de-addiction centre at Fatehpur village in Ropar was raided last year on October after complaints of torture of the inmates has again started operating in the area. The local police said that they were not aware of the activity.
A visit to the drug de-addiction centre revealed that though owner of the centre, Khushwinder Singh alias Kaka, was arrested in October last year during the raid, his men were still present at the centre and carrying out the activities of admitting drug addicts.
A resident of Fatehpur village whose husband was also admitted to the drug de-addiction centre said that people still visit Jhandpur Sahib where Khushwinder’s men used to send them to Baddi.
“My husband still drinks a lot. We paid the money. Recently when I approached some people at Jhandpur Sahib, they asked me to deposit Rs 15,000, following which they would send my husband to Baddi for treatment,” the woman added.
No outsider is allowed to enter the building of the drug de-addiction centre which is located near Gurdwara Jhand Sahib on the outskirts of Fatehpur village. The centre which has around 10-ft-high perimeter walls and three-to-four buildings, including the offices and hall where the inmates were kept, is also guarded by some private persons who are distant family members of Khushwinder Singh.
When visited, Paramjeet Singh who claimed to be father-in-law of Khushwinder Singh Kaka, was sitting at the entry gate. When asked for permission to enter the building, Paramjeet Singh did not allow and asked Chandigarh Newsline team to wait at the gate.
A pick-up vehicle was parked just near the entry gate. The vehicle is used by the centre’s staff to transport drug addicts to Baddi and pick them from their homes.
After a while, a young man who was in his mid-20s came at the gate and introduced himself as Harsimran Singh and nephew of Khushwinder Singh.
When asked whether they still admit drug addicts, Harsimran Singh replied in the affirmative and said that they cure drug addicts. When asked in detail about treatment process, Harsimran Singh gave a mobile number of one of his another relatives, Dilbagh Singh, for detailed queries.
Dilbagh Singh told Newsline over the phone that they operate their centre from a college building at Baddi and they shall give treatment to the patients. When asked the address, Dilbagh Singh said that they would tell whenever the family of the patients shall come to Baddi.
Dilbagh Singh said it is a 11-month course and they charge Rs 18,000 per month for first three months, Rs 17,000 for the next three months and Rs 16,000 per month for next 5 months.
The Ropar police, in October 2018, raided the drug de-addiction centre at Jhandpur Sahib village and freed around 200 inmates who were admitted for treatment. Khushwinder Singh was arrested. Dilbagh Singh said Khushwinder Singh was out on bail and he now stayed at Baddi.
A woman of a neighbouring village whose husband was admitted to the centre said her husband was not treated despite paying Rs 60,000 for treatment. She said her husband is an alcoholic.
“He still beats me and my daughter and drinks every day. We paid money somehow but now people, who claimed to treat him, fled. There were many people who were facing same problems,” she said.
Another woman from Ludhiana, whose son was admitted to the centre, said after her son was released from the centre, he started taking drugs again. She added that she had now admitted him to another drug de-addiction centre by paying Rs 50,000.
Chamkaur Sahib Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Sukhjeet Singh Virk said he took over the charge around 10 days ago and if owner of the drug de-addiction centre was operating in such a manner, they will take action against him. He added that the centre was closed but if operational, it is an offence.
Chamkaur Sahib Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Sukhjeet Singh Virk said the centre was closed and police are keeping an eye on it. He added that they would write to Baddi police about Khushwinder Singh and cases against him in Punjab so that police can take suitable action. When told that some people were still admitting drug-addicts at Jhandpur Sahib, DSP Virk said that since the centre is not running here now, so it is not under their purview but they will certainly inform their Baddi counterparts.