Updated: December 18, 2021 8:54:55 am
Recipient of President’s police medal for gallantry for “neutralizing the topmost terrorists in the State”, Police (Special Duty) medal, Police medal for meritorious service and Director General’s commendation roll twice during his stint in BSF, new officiating Punjab Director General of Police Sidhharth Chattopadhyaya was a supervisory officer to investigate the property details of Akali patron and former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family members in 2003 corruption and disproportionate assets case registered by the erstwhile Congress government led by the then chief minister Captain Amarinder in which the Badals and a number of other accused named in the case were acquitted by a Mohali court in 2010 due to lack of evidence, when the SAD-led government was there.
In 2014, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had quashed strictures passed against Chattopadhyaya by the Mohali court which acquitted the Badals and others while noting that witnesses turning hostile in a case is no ground for perjury proceedings against officers.
A choice of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Navjot Singh Sidhu for appointment as regular DGP of Punjab, Chattopadhyaya also headed a three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed in December 2017 on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to look into the allegations of police officer SSP Raj Jit Singh’s alleged complicity with Inspector Inderjit Singh, who was earlier arrested in a drug case by the anti-drug Punjab STF headed by Additional Director General of Police Harpreet Singh Sidhu. The report continues to remain in a sealed cover in the High Court along with the STF report on Punjab drugs case based on findings of Enforcement Directorate. The next date of hearing in the Punjab drugs case is on January 11 as the state inches towards elections early next year and Sidhu while raising the matter on Twitter ahead of every court hearing has been gunning for the head of a senior Akali leader in the drugs case.
The court had ordered formation of the Chattopadhyaya-led SIT after Raj Jit Singh, the then Moga SSP, had sought transfer of investigation from the STF headed by Harpreet Singh Sidhu.
Chattopadhyaya subsequently was issued a questionnaire by a SIT led by then IG L K Yadav which was probing suicide case of Indepreet Singh Chadha, son of Amritsar-based former Chief Khalsa Diwan president Charanjit Singh Chadha whose purported video with the principal of women’s institution in a compromising position went viral. Chadha had mentioned Chattopadhyaya’s name in his diary written in 2016 in connection with a case filed against him in the NRI Commission, where Chattopadhyaya was a member then.
The HC stayed proceedings against Chattopadhyaya in the case after he told the court that the role of the then Punjab DGP Suresh Arora and then DGP (Intelligence) Dinkar Gupta had surfaced in the ongoing SIT probe against dismissed inspector Inderjit Singh Raj Jit Singh in the drug trafficking case, and that “attempts were now being made to implicate him in the suicide case at the behest of Arora and Gupta”. Arora and Gupta deny the allegations even as Chattopadhyaya, in his application, also mentioned that “several significant facts and pointers, including reportedly the benami house of a DGP… are being investigated to confirm” the role of Arora and Gupta in the case involving Inspector Inderjit and SSP Raj Jit Singh”.
Chattopadhyaya, a 1986-batch IPS officer, was on late Thursday night given additional charge of Punjab Director General of Police, in addition to the duties already assigned to him as Special DGP (Punjab State Power Corporation Limited) and additional charge of Chief Director of Punjab Vigilance Bureau.
Chattopadhyaya replaced 1988-batch IPS officer and Special DGP Armed Battalions Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota who was given additional charge of Punjab DGP after Charanjit Singh Channi in September this year replaced Captain Amarinder Singh as Chief Minister following an intense infighting in the Punjab Congress which led to the ouster of Amarinder who went on to form his own outfit, Punjab Lok Congress. PPCC chief Singh had been batting for Chattopadhyaya as state police chief even as Channi-led government appointed Sahota.
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