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Illegal travel agent drives 4 to suicide
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Thikriwal (Kapurthala), January 27
Activities of illegal travel agents in the Doaba region have claimed the lives of three members of a family and one of their relatives, while one child is struggling for life in a hospital as they consumed celphos tablets after the family head Sarwan Singh was arrested in a travel agent case here yesterday.

According to Mr Kashmir Singh, father of Sarwan Singh, Rachchpal Kaur (25), wife of Sarwan Singh, with her sons Kirandeep Singh (5), Gurpreet Singh (2) and Avtar Singh (1) and her sister Aman Kaur (18) consumed celphos tablets after the police arrested Sarwan Singh last afternoon.

Mr Kashmir Singh, a mason in the PWD, said he was on duty at the Republic Day function in Kapurthala when he received information from Subhanpur police station that his son had been arrested.

I, accompanied by my brother Satnam Singh and nephew Sukhjinder Singh, went to Subhanpur police station and on the way got information that all members of the family at home have consumed poison and are lying unconscious, said Mr Kashmir Singh.

They immediately rushed to the village and took them to the local Civil Hospital, Mr Kashmir Singh said.

Avtar Singh died on way to the hospital while Gurpreet Singh and Aman Kaur, younger sister of Rachchpal Kaur who used to live with the family, died in the hospital yesterday. Rachchpal Kaur died in a private hospital at Dayalpur this afternoon, said Mr Kashmir Singh.

Mr Kashmir Singh said Sarwan Singh, who looked after a dargah near his house, paid Rs 4 lakh after selling his one and a half acre land to travel agent Satnam Singh and his wife Paramjit Kaur, residents of Dakoha village in Gurdaspur, for going to New Zealand.

More than 20 persons who were known to Sarwan Singh also paid Rs 22 lakh to travel agents Satnam Singh and Dilbagh Singh for going abroad through him.

When the travel agents did not send the persons abroad after taking the money, they started visiting Sarwan Singh and his family for getting the money back and got a case registered against him.

Sarwan Singh sold his two buffaloes, generator set and half a acre of the remaining land to pay the money.

Not being able to face the humiliation, Balwinder Kaur, first wife of Sarwan Singh, and his grandmother Surjit Kaur died about three months ago, disclosed Mr Kashmir Singh.

Sarwan Singh was under an acute depression for the past three days, said Mr Sukhjinder Singh, cousin of Sarwan Singh.

According to Mr Amrik Singh Powar, DSP, the Bholath police has registered a case of fraud against Sarwan Singh, Satnam Singh and his wife Paramjit Kaur for duping 20 persons on the pretext of sending them abroad. The police arrested Sarwan Singh yesterday and recovered celphos tablets from his pocket.

Mr Samir Kumar, Deputy Commissioner and Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, assured the family of meeting the expenses of treatment. The bodies of the children were taken to Beas for cremation while the body of Aman was taken to her village at Taran Taran by her parents.

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