Spurious liquor tragedy

Once a driver, accused now owns luxury cars, houses

Rashpal Singh and his brother rose financially by ‘dealing’ in illicit liquor

Once a driver, accused now owns luxury cars, houses

GS Paul/ PK Jaiswar

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 4

Rashpal Singh, alias Shallu (38), a driver around one-and-a-half decade ago, now owns a number of palatial houses and luxury vehicles.

Hailing from Dhotian village in Tarn Taran, he along with his brother Gurpal Singh rose financially by allegedly dealing in illicit liquor trade. According to information, both have criminal records as at least 27 cases have been registered against them at different police stations in Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Jalandhar. They supplied heroin, illicit liquor and other intoxicants besides indulging in abduction and theft cases.

Their father Buta Singh had been a member of the local panchayat. They supplied drugs mainly in Tarn Taran and Amritsar.

Despite their criminal background, they enjoyed immunity due to their alleged police-political ties. It is learnt that Rashpal had encroached upon an abandoned plot in 2012 illegally and involved in religious activities and changed his name to Shallu Shah Ramzan Qadri. Locals said he used this place to connect with youth and also organised fair which was attended by singers and qawwals.

Preferring anonymity, locals say that till 2001, this family was living hand to mouth. Then Rashpal took up driving and a year later, a case under the NDPS Act was registered against him. He also faced kidnapping cases in 2003. He entered into the illicit liquor trade in 2005.

On the other hand, Gurpal too faced around 10 cases. The first case under the Excise Act was registered against him in 2006.

The brothers own four houses in Dhotian village. After the breaking up of illicit trade nexus, the Tarn Taran police have been continuously raiding his hideouts but he managed to dodge. Gurpal is already in police custody since July 9 when the Phillaur police caught him with 4,000-litre chemical (spirit). The police are bringing him on production warrant for further interrogation.

Tarn Taran SSP Dhruman Nimblay said raids were on to nab Rashpal while Gurpal would be brought on production warrant to smash the entire nexus.

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