Drug suppliers in Punjab will now be charged with culpable homicide in cases of deaths due to overdosing, the police said on Monday.
Addressing the media, Punjab Police’s Inspector General of Police (HQ) Sukhchain Singh Gill said every such death will be under scanner now.
Any drug supplier responsible for the death of a person due to overdosing will be charged under Section 304 – culpable homicide not amounting to murder – of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Mr Gill said.
“A person has knowledge that his action can lead to death and in the case of death due to overdose, it is assumed that a person, who supplied the drugs, knew that his act could lead to someone’s death.
“In every case of overdose death, we will investigate the role of suppliers and if it is established, on a preliminary basis, the supplier can be charged under Section 304 of the IPC and we will ensure that he is punished,” the officer said.
There have been several instances of drug overdose deaths in Punjab.
In its ongoing crackdown against the drug menace, the police have seized properties worth Rs 30 crore of contraband suppliers under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, he said.
The police will also take action against its personnel if big drug smugglers manage bail because of their failure to file a charge sheet in time, he added.
Police officers, including the deputy superintendents of police, and Station House Officers have been served notices over such lapses.
Director General of Police Gaurav Yadav has strictly instructed there should not be any case of default bail to a drug smuggler, Mr Gill said.
To completely eradicate the menace of drugs from the state in line with Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s commitment, the Punjab Police have enforced a three-pronged strategy of enforcement, public contact, and demand reduction, Mr Gill said.
Under the enforcement part, commissioners and senior superintendents of police have been asked to launch all-out operations against street peddlers and suppliers in mohallas and villages, he added.
As part of this strategy, addicts caught with a few grams of heroin or narcotic powder will be treated as victims and will be given a chance to rehabilitate and will be shielded from prosecution, he said, adding that special focus is being given to pharmaceutical drugs.
“There will be district-specific or police station-specific plans against drugs under which police teams will hold meetings in all villages and mohallas to sensitise people about the ill effects of the drugs,” he said.
The police will rope in school children, college students, and NGOs to spread the word against drug use through workshops, seminars, runs, and cycle rallies, he said.
They will involve district administrations, health, education, and sports departments to identify users and rehabilitate them with the help of microloans and skill-based activities.
The police have seized 1,400 kg of heroin from across the state in the last 14 months, Mr Gill said.
In addition, 147.5 kg heroin was recovered by the police from the ports of Gujarat and Maharashtra, he said.
“The police have recovered around 240 kg of heroin from across the state in August alone,” Mr Gill said, adding that they have also recovered 871.82 kg of opium, 446.30 quintals of poppy husk, and 90.59 lakh tablets, capsules, injections, and vials of pharma opioids from across the state.
Rs 13.96 crore in cash was seized from 19,093 drug smugglers, who were arrested since July 5, 2022, he said, adding that 14,179 FIRs have been registered since then.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)