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Businessman’s suicide case casts shadow on DGP Chattopadyay’s Punjab drug probe report

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Chandigarh: An Indian Police Service (IPS) officer accused of abetting the suicide of businessman Inderpreet Singh Chadha in 2018 seems to have cast a shadow on the Special Investigation Team’s (SIT’s) drug report submitted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court during the same year by this accused officer who headed the SIT.

An Amritsar-based businessman, Inderpreet Singh Chadha, accused the then Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Sidharth Chattopadhyay, who retired as DGP, of harassment starting from 2016 at the behest of a Non-Resident-Indian (NRI) girl Kay Ghuman. Chadha, who owned a Mall in Ludhiana, had a financial dispute with his minority shareholding partner Ms Ghuman, a resident of the United Kingdom (UK). The four suicide notes recovered from the deceased’s bag mentioned the reasons for his suicide. Chadha died on January 1, 2018.

The case files of the SIT headed by the then Inspector General of Police (IG) L.K. Yadav showed that the then ADGP Chattopadhyay was somehow linked to two girls, Ms Ghuman and her gym manager Ms Manya. As per statements of advocate Anteshwar Singh and Chadha’s wife recorded in April 2018, after the suicide, Chattopadhyaya accompanied by Ms Ghuman and one Devinder Singh Sandhu of World Wide Immigration Services (WWICS) arrived at the Chandigarh bungalow of the deceased and threatened him in 2016. Chattopadhyay asked him to settle the dispute, forthwith or else he would be arrested.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on December 15, 2017, appointed Chattopadhyay as chairman of the 3-member SIT to inquire into the nexus of senior police officers with drug smugglers in Punjab. All the members of the Chattopadhyay led-SIT unanimously filed three reports. However, Chattopadhyay also submitted another report without the consent and signatures of the other two members, Parbodh Kumar IPS and Kunwar Vijay Partap IPS.

A division bench of Justice G.S. Sandhawalia, after about 5 years, opened the sealed reports and sent 3 of them for action to the Punjab government. Chattopadhyay’s 4th independent report was held back on the pleadings of former DGP Suresh Arora. Considered close to the Akalis and Congress politicians, Arora on retirement was appointed head of the State Information Commission (SIC).

Arora alleged that the 4th report was vindictive and biased.

As the investigation into Chadha’s suicide case progressed, Chattopadhyay managed to get a stay order from the High Court against police action against him for his alleged role in abetting the suicide. For about 5 years, the police could not proceed in the matter. Other 9 accused in the Chadha suicide abetment case, including Ms Ghuman got stay orders from the High Court after the Yadav-led SIT completed the investigation and a challan (chargesheet) was filed in the Amritsar trial court.

Meanwhile, names of certain IPS officers have surfaced who acquired properties with drug money. One officer got a bungalow in Chandigarh’s posh Sector 15, while the other bought a sprawling farmhouse in Mullanpur on the outskirts of Chandigarh. These officers allegedly helped the arrested main accused in the drug case inspector (substantial rank of a head constable) Inderjit Singh to get posted to a place wherever his patron SSP Rajjit Singh Hundal was transferred. One of the SSPs posted in a district reportedly supplied imported whiskey, estimated to be worth Rs 25 lakh, for an IPS officer’s social function. A junior police officer tasked by the SSP concerned to transport the same to Chandigarh informed indianarrative.com.

The next date fixed for the hearing by Justice Sandhawalia of the High Court to decide whether or not to open the 4th drug report given independently by Chattopadhyaya is May 4, 2023.