Punjab fake encounters: 8 policemen get life term : The Tribune India

Punjab fake encounters: 8 policemen get life term

PATIALA: A local CBI court today sentenced eight policemen, including a retired Superintendent of Police, to life term in two fake encounter cases of 1992.

Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 31

A local CBI court today sentenced eight policemen, including a retired Superintendent of Police, to life term in two fake encounter cases of 1992. The CBI used the post-mortem report and injury marks on the bodies of the victims, shown dead during the fake encounters, to nail the accused.

The probe agency had filed two charge-sheets in the case against 24 accused, of whom 16 were let off.

The court of CBI special judge Kuldip Singh sentenced SP Ram Singh (retd) from Kapurthala, Inspector Ajit Singh (retd), Inspectors Ajaib Singh, Amrik Singh and sub-inspector Harbhajan Singh to life imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 8,500 each.

In the second case registered by the CBI, the court sentenced assistant inspector Sukhwant Singh, and constables Rajinder Kumar and Nand Singh to life imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 6,500 each. “Both cases are interlinked since the accused ensured there were no witnesses to the crime. But the post-mortem reports and other evidence helped the CBI nail their lie,” said HPS Verma, senior counsel for the victims’ family.

In 1997, the CBI booked the accused under Sections 364 (kidnapping for ransom), 342 (wrongful confinement), 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence or giving false information to screen offender) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, following a petition in court by the parents of Rajwinder Singh, Mukhtiar Singh and Baljeet Singh — all of whom were policemen and undergoing training at Ladha Kothi, Sangrur.

The accused had connived to carry out fake encounters, including that of Baljeet Singh, while another police team declared Rajwinder Singh and Mukhtiar Singh as absconders who are still untraceable.

The CBI chargesheet claims the police had picked up Delhi-based Vijaypal and his associate from Delhi in connection with a bomb blast that took place in Kapurthala. During interrogation, the two claimed the involvement of the three trainees in the blast. Another police team, meanwhile, rounded up the three trainees.

The CBI charge-sheet says: “On September 4, 1992, a police team headed by Ram Singh claimed to have come under attack while they were shifting Vijaypal and his associate along with the three trainee policemen, who were named by Vijaypal in his alleged confessional statement to the police.”

The police team later claimed during the crossfire, Baljeet Singh along with Vijaypal died on the spot, while Rajwinder Singh and Mukhtiar Singh escaped from police custody, never to be traced again. The alleged attack had reportedly taken place near Kapurthala.

The CBI chargesheet mentioned that grievous injuries found during the post-mortem of Vijaypal and Baljeet Singh suggested the victims were brutally tortured. The doctors found their skulls and brains badly damaged, the charge-sheet says.

“This formed the basis of the CBI probe that helped them ensure justice,” said Verma.

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