Monday, September 4, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Minister’s kin dies in lock-up
Probe ordered, 7 cops booked
From Sushil Goyal and Ashok Joshi

MALERKOTLA, Sept 3 — Balbir Singh (23) nephew of Mr Sarwan Singh Phillaur, Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes, Punjab, died of internal injuries while in police custody here last evening. He was cremated here this afternoon. The police was deployed in strength as tension gripped the town.

The local police has registered a case under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC against seven — Inspector Ram Kumar, Head Constables Bahadur Singh and Harbhajan Singh, and Constables Dilbar Khan, Hans Raj, Bhim Chand and Sukhwant Singh — on a complaint filed by Mr Resham Lal, an uncle of the deceased.

Balbir Singh was working in a local finance company as an employee and was yet to be married.

The local police this morning reportedly resorted to a mild lathi charge on a mob gathered in front of the local Civil Hospital where the body of the deceased was kept. The police made the lathi charge when women raised slogans against the Punjab Police and some persons threw bricks at the police.

Talking to TNS this afternoon, Mr Surinder Singh Saini, DSP, Malerkotla, said none of the accused policemen had been arrested so far. All had absconded.

The DSP said the police received information yesterday that some persons were gambling at the Sarod road. A police party led by Inspector Ram Kumar raided the site, arresting three persons while Balbir Singh ran away. He was caught after a chase and brought to the local special branch of the police where his health was found in poor condition. He was taken to the local Civil Hospital by his relatives where the doctor on duty declared him dead.

Talking to TNS, Mr Sarwan Singh Phillaur today said that Balbir Singh was the son of his sister. He had been implicated by the police in a gambling case. He was beaten mercilessly. When his condition deteriorated, the police allowed his relatives to take him to the Civil Hospital where he was declared ‘brought dead’ .

Mr S.P. Chauhan, a local BSP leader, and Mr Mohammad Bashir, a working committee member of the SAD (A), alleged that the police today lathi-charged a mob near the hospital when it raised slogans against the police and demanded the release of the remaining three persons held by the police on the charge of gambling.

In the FIR, it has been stated by Mr Resham Lal that his nephew was watching some youths play cards at the local Tempoo Union office when some policemen raided the spot. The boys began to run. His nephew also did the same due to fear. But he was caught by the policemen. Later, the policemen thrashed him which resulted in internal injuries that proved fatal. Sangrur Deputy Commissioner Anirudh Tiwari has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the death.

According to the police version, the four youths were arrested while gambling. They were taken to a hotel on the Sangrur-Ludhiana road and Rs 13,320 were found in their possession. Balbir Singh was found unwell at the time of interrogation and was taken to a Civil Hospital. He, however, died on the way.

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