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High Court rips into working of Punjab Police
‘Multiple probes help accused’
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 20
The Punjab Police is in the dock literally for adopting the custom of multiple inquiries, and in the process absolving accused even in heinous crimes.

Taking a serious view of the practice, Justice L. N. Mittal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed that the ‘unfortunate and sorry state of affairs’ be brought to the notice of the state’s principal secretary, home affairs and Justice, for taking remedial measures.

The directions follow the filing of a petition by an Amritsar district resident. An eyewitness to her father’s murder, petitioner Gori had alleged through counsel G. K. Mann that the accused held guilty by an IPS officer in an inquiry were absolved by a PPS officer in another inquiry.

Handing over the investigation of the case to the crime branch of the Punjab Police for being conducted by an IPS officer, Justice Mittal ruled: “This is a classic case in which the manner of functioning of the Punjab Police stands exposed, and it is not an isolated case of this nature. Many such cases have come to the notice of this court wherein one gazetted officer of the police gives findings in favour of one party and, subsequently, another gazetted officer gives opposite findings in favour of the other party. This is a very unfortunate and sorry state of affairs, which should be looked into and remedied by the powers that be.”

Going into the background of the matter, Justice Mittal observed: “The petitioner lodged FIR number 33 dated March 24, 2006, under Sections 302, 506 and 34 of the IPC at Police Station ‘C’ Division, Amritsar, relating to the murder of her father Satpal Singh, alias Sattu, at the hands of Balwinder Singh, alias Binda, Rajwinder Singh, alias Raj and Baldev Singh, alias Bittu. The petitioner claimed herself to be eyewitness to the murder. After the investigation, final report dated April 13, 2006, was submitted by SP, City, Kastab Sharma, IPS officer, holding the three persons named in the FIR guilty.

However, later on, SP Manminder Singh, PPS officer, conducted inquiry and submitted his report dated August 25, 2006, holding the three named in the FIR innocent and not present at the time of occurrence and found Jatinder Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Surinder Singh and Jasbir Singh to be the culprits.

If in such serious cases like murder, the police functions in this manner, the result can well be anticipated. The petition is allowed and investigation of the case is handed over to the crime branch of the Punjab Police. An officer of the Indian Police Service shall conduct the investigation and an officer not below the rank of a DIG shall supervise it.

In view of the directions of investigation by the crime branch, the proceedings in the case in the Trial Court shall remain stayed till the crime branch submits the investigation report.

The Judge concluded: “A copy of the order be sent to the principal secretary, home affairs and Justice, Punjab, for taking remedial measures to avoid the reoccurring of such unfortunate affairs, in light of the observations made in the judgement.”

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