A DAY after he was booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) was found dead at the Special Task Force (STF) headquarters in Amritsar’s Mall Mandi on Tuesday. Police said he shot himself using a service rifle. As per Supreme Court orders, a judicial inquiry will be conducted in the case.
ASI Avtar Singh had been arrested by the STF — set up by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to tackle the drug nexus in Punjab — alongwith ASI Jorawar Singh for allegedly using and peddling heroine, on Monday. Both were posted at Gharinda police station, which covers the Indo-Pak border and is on main road touching Amritsar with Lahore.
After the FIR was lodged, both were taken to the STF’s Mall Mandi office for interrogation. STF Inspector General of Police R K Jaiswal said, “Avtar Singh was locked in a cell at the STF headquarters in Amritsar. He woke up at around 5 am and reported anxiety to the munshi, who was on a night shift. The munshi got him out of the lock-up, make him comfortable in his own room, and went to fetch him a glass of water.
In the meantime, Avtar Singh opened a trunk in the room, took out an AK-47 assault rifle and shot himself. We will need to check the records to find out who the assault rifle was allotted to.” He further said: “The trunk was initially locked but had just been unlocked by the munshi. He had kept some of his things like toothbrush in the same trunk.”
The IG said that it was an “almost clear” case of suicide, but as per court orders, there will be a judicial probe. “The Mohkampura police station SHO has written to the judge to conduct the inquiry. Post-mortem will be conducted tomorrow. We have secured two days’ police remand of second accused Jorawar Singh in the heroine peddling case. We will investigate from where they were getting heroine and how they were selling it in the market. We conducted several raids along with both last evening after their arrest,” he added.
STF chief Harpreet Sidhu said, “Both were involved in peddling and were also themselves using the heroine. STF took action only after confirming involvement of the accused. There should be no doubt that these police officials were involved in heroine smuggling.”