M A I N   N E W S

Custodial death in Tarn Taran;
SHO, 3 others booked
Varinder Walia  and Gurbxpuri

Khalra, June 10
Station House Officer Buta Singh, a commission agent, his son and another person were booked following the alleged custodial death of Jaspal Singh, a farmer of border village Dhunna, here today.

The SHO has been arrested.

The farmer was allegedly tortured to death while in illegal custody. Mr Parmjit Singh Gill, DIG (Border Range), said Buta Singh, Brahm Dutt, commission agent, his son and Charnjit Bittu had been booked under Sections 306, 506, 342 and 34 of the IPC. Mr Gill said he had directed the SSP not to show any leniency in the case.

Mr Ashok Bath, SP (Operation), Tarn Taran, however, claimed that the death was not due to torture. Dr Harjit Bharti, Senior Medical Officer, Patti, said there was no visible mark of torture on the body of Jaspal Singh. However, Dr Bharti said the post-mortem examination would be conducted by a board of three doctors tomorrow. He said as per the instructions of the National Human Rights Commission the post-mortem examination would be videographed and the report submitted within two months by the SDM.

Jaspal had been taken to the police station in connection with financial dispute with a commission agent, Brahm Dutt, to whom the former’s brother Jagtar Singh had sold his agricultural land. Jagtar Singh was also kept in illegal custody at the Khalra police station.

The SDM, Patti, Mr S.K. Sabbarwal, who was directed to conduct magisterial inquiry, recorded the statements of the relatives of the deceased.

The DIG said the commission agent, his son and Bittu had been intimidating Jaspal and his family.

A heavy police force was requisitioned to prevent any agitation following the custodial death. According to eyewitnesses, the panicky policemen, led by Malkit Singh, ASI, took the body into a Gypsy and rushed to a private hospital. However, a doctor there reportedly refused to attend the case with the result the body was taken to Patti, where the doctors declared Jaspal “brought dead”.

Mr Bath said Jaspal was handed over to the police through the panchayat and hence there was no question of torturing him in custody. He stated that Jaspal might have died due to some acute health problem.

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