Sunday, October 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Ministerís kin found murdered
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Oct 21 ó Jhangi Lal, a brother-in-law of Mr Rikhi Ram Kondal, Minister for Cooperatives in the Himachal Pradesh Government, was found murdered in mysterious circumstances at his residence in Ishar Nagar here last night.

The deceased was suspectedly strangulated to death by three persons on Thursday night. Though the post-mortem report is awaited, circumstantial evidence like marks of a wire on the neck of the body support strangulation as the cause of death.

No further clue about the motive behind the crime had been found till the evening by the police. Neither were there signs of any robbery nor of any resistance shown by the deceased. According to police, few relatives and the owners of a factory in which the deceased worked as a Post Manager also do not know about his enmity with any one.

Preliminary investigations by the police suggest three persons visited the house of the deceased on Thursday night. They spent some time there and even had liquor as suggested by the presence of three empty glasses and a liquor bottle in the drawing room of the house. After committing the murder, the persons left the body inside but locked the house from outside before going away. However, no clue about the identity of the three persons has been found so far.

Interestingly, the deceased was not known to consume liquor. Another point baffling the police was that the scooter of the deceased was found abandoned in Chaura Bazar area which is about 10 km away from the site of the murder.

Mr Rikhi Ram accompanied by local leaders and workers of the BJP reached here this morning. He held discussions with senior police officers of the city about the incident.

According to Mr Kuldip Singh, SSP, the deceased was working in Vishvakarma Industries for the past almost 20 years and was leading a normal life. His family lived in Himachal Pradesh but used to visit him frequently.

He said the police was questioning friends and relatives to find any possible motive of the crime. At present, it seems that Jhangi Lal probably was with his friends that evening as they consumed liquor there. It is suspected that some altercation between them could have led to the murder.

According to Mr Charanjit Singh, owner of Vishvakarma Industries, he had last seen Jhangi Lal on Thursday evening when he had left for his house after finishing the daysí work. At that time he was looking normal.

Mr Joginder Lal, a relative of the deceased, reached the factory to meet him but could not find him. Their suspicion grew when they learnt that someone had found the scooter of the deceased lying abandoned in Chaura Bazar.

In the evening two persons, including Mr Joginder Lal, reached the house which was locked from outside. They spotted the body when they peeped through the window and informed the police.

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