M A I N   N E W S

Serial baby killer held
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 29
A spectre of fear terryfying local residents for the past over seven months almost vanished in this morning as a cruel serial baby killer, Darbara Singh, who not only ruthlessly killed 17 innocent children of migrant labourers here but also surpassed all boundaries of cruelty by allegedly subjecting his dead victims, mostly girls, to rape attempts, was finally arrested by the local police.

Darbara Singh, an ex-serviceman, nurtured a grudge against migrant labourers, as he felt that it was because of a migrant labourer family of Kapurthala that he had to waste 10 “precious years” of his life in jail. He was sentenced to imprisonment by a Kapurthala court for 30 years for allegedly raping and attempting to murder a daughter of a migrant labourer. He was released from the Ludhiana jail on December 3 last year after having spent 10 years in jail. For his “good conduct” in the jail, his sentence was reduced from 30 to 10 years.

His hatred against migrant labourers was so intense that he asserted in front of the Jalandhar SSP, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, that he could have killed more children of migrant labourers had he not been arrested by the police “so soon”.

Darbara Singh, 52, who has three children and who was shunted out of his house by his wife for his “bad habits,” also admitted that he had dumped the bodies of most of his 17 innocent victims near a bridge on the Rayya-Khadoor Sahib road after subjecting them to rape or sodomy.

During the past seven months, a total of 23 children, mostly below the age of 10, had gone missing from the city. Of them six were recovered by the police. The abduction’s of children began in March this year when two sisters, Asha and Diksha, were abducted from the local company bagh.

“Though he has confessed to having killed 17 children — 15 girls and two boys — we are still interrogating him to elicit more details. We had to lay a number of traps for him and I think he is India’s first serial killer who has been so barbaric. He has killed 17 children. What is more stunning is his confession that in a fit of rage he even tried to rape or sodomise dead bodies of his victims,” said Mr Bhullar.

Darbara Singh, originally a resident of Jallupur Khaira village near Beas in Amritsar district, allegedly lobbed a hand grenade at the house of his senior officer, Major V.K. Sharma, after having an altercation with the latter while he was posted at Air Force Station at Pathankot in 1975. The wife and teenaged son of the officer were seriously injured. He was arrested but acquitted after the trial.

He was also arrested in three cases of attempt to murder by the Kapurthala police and was subsequently sentenced by the court to undergo imprisonment for 30 years. From Kapurthala he was shifted to the Jalandhar central jail and then to the Ludhiana Central Jail where he spent five years before he was released on December 3 last year for his “good conduct” on the basis of his mercy petition.

Filled with a sense of revenge, Darbara Singh came to Jalandhar where he took a room on rent in Model House locality and started working in a factory in the Leather Complex area of the cityhouse in Urban Estate and simultaneously started targeting children of migrant labourers.

According to Mr Rajpal Sandhu, Mr Rakesh Kaushal, both SPs, Mr Rajjit Singh, Mr Rajinder Singh and Mr Charanjit Singh, all DSPs and part of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by Mr Bhullar for cracking the crime, Darbara Singh, used his cycle for committing crime and enticed children by offering sweets and eatables to them in localities dominated by migrant labourers. His preferred time to perform his ‘operation’ was between 10 am and 12.30 pm when most of migrant labour was away to factories.

On how the serial killer was nabbed by the police, Mr Bhullar said it was possible only after the SIT studied the modus operandi adopted by the suspect in detail and a sketch was made on the basis of information gathered from diferent sources. They got information that a person resembling the sketch was going on his cycle along with a bag of toffees. SHO Pritam Singh was despatched to nab the person, who turned out to be Darbara Singh. 

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