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Death shadow on cop transfer

The assistant commissioner in charge of the narcotics cell of Calcutta police was transferred on Sunday, a week after a student staying at an SSKM hostel died of suspected drug overdose.

Senior officers claimed Deepak Dutta’s transfer to the south suburban division was “routine” but sources attributed the move to his alleged failure to curb drug peddling in the city.

Two alleged drug peddlers — Aveek Chowdhury and Mohammad Ishaq — were arrested on Friday night. The police said Aveek had bought drugs from Ishaq and supplied them to two SSKM interns, Saptarshi Das and Mohammad Shahbaaz Siddiqui, on February 21.

The next morning Saptarshi Das was found gasping for breath and Mohammed Shahbaaz Siddiqui unconscious in the hostel. Shahbaaz survived but Saptarshi died.

“Dutta, being the head of the narcotics cell, cannot shirk his responsibility. He was removed because the authorities found he was unable to control drug peddling,” said an officer of Calcutta police.

An officer described Ishaq as an “affluent” peddler, who allegedly sourced drugs from Ghutiari Sharif in South 24-Parganas and supplied them to cartels active in the city. “Aveek is a member of one of the cartels. Among his clients are students of various medical colleges.”

Pradip Mitra, the director of the Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education-SSKM Hospital, said: “I have heard that the police have found that many students in our hostel take drugs. We have not got anything in writing from the police, but in any case we are taking the matter very seriously. Our hostel committee will conduct regular checks.”