As the meeting of the Cabinet and another meeting of officials, Guardians of Governance (GoGs), ministers and PPCC president Sunil Kumar Jakhar preceding the Cabinet meeting, discussed drugs, most of the ministers vociferously stated that ‘Chitta’ was available in the state.

“We better get our act together on drugs or people of the state may actually start blackening our faces in a few days time if we fail,” was the concern raised by a Congress leader during the marathon meetings of Punjab government on drugs Monday.

This came after Minister of Cooperation and Jails Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa showed the Cabinet a picture of a ‘blackened’ face of the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that surfaced on Facebook.

As the meeting of the Cabinet and another meeting of officials, Guardians of Governance (GoGs), ministers and PPCC president Sunil Kumar Jakhar preceding the Cabinet meeting, discussed drugs, most of the ministers vociferously stated that ‘Chitta’ was available in the state.

Cabinet Ministers, including Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, Randhawa, Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Industries Minister Sunder Sham Arora and Jakhar took on the chief minister for not taking action against former Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia in alleged Bhola Drugs Case.

While Sidhu is learnt to have told the CM that he should put Majithia behind bars and Sidhu would ensure all 13 seats in Lok Sabha elections, Jakhar and Randhawa too are learnt to have strongly asked for action against him. Jakhar, sources said, told the CM that they were being questioned by people as to why was Majithia allowed to roam free.

Amarinder, it is learnt, told the meetings that the state could not do anything against the former Revenue Minister as the Bhola Drug case was handed over to CBI by the previous SAD-BJP government. The ministers also told the CM that he could take action against Majithia on the basis of STF report only.

The Congress leaders also pointed out that the guilty should be punished in the Bargari desecration and Behbal Kalan firing case. The CM again told them that this case, too, was with CBI. Sidhu and Randhawa demanded that the CM should write to CBI and ask them to drop investigations and let the state handle it. The meeting could not reach a consensus on the issue as some ministers were of the opinion that if the CM would write to CBI to drop investigations it would not send right signals across.

The meeting also saw the Punjab DGP Suresh Arora and Cabinet Ministers wrangling over the menace of drugs. A few ministers said the spurt in drug deaths was a reflection on the working of the Punjab Police. A minister is learnt to have told him that several police officials were posted in the field for over 10 years and nobody had transferred them.

The DGP is then learnt to have told the ministers that it were the party MLAs who were deciding on the postings of the SHOs.

Cabinet Minister Razia Sultana, it is learnt, was the first among the ministers to state vociferously that chitta was available in her constituency. She was reacting to Rural and Housing Development Minister Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, who claimed that there was no issue of drugs in his constituency.

Later Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal also spoke and said that the government should be seen as taking action against the drugs.

Health Minister Brahm Mohindra and CM’s Advisor Gen TS Shergill provided data to prove that the government had acted to curb drug menace.

STF Chief Harpreet Sidhu called the deaths a “matter of concern”. AG Atul Nanda demanded a special team of prosecutors to ensure the peddlers were convicted and action against police officers if their FIRs did not ensure conviction.

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