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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Punjab police fails to arrest BJP leader's kin accused of extortion

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Hoshiarpur, September 16, 2013
First Published: 21:39 IST(16/9/2013) | Last Updated: 21:41 IST(16/9/2013)

The local police have failed to arrest kin of a BJP leader despite registration of extortion and cheating case against him six days back.

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The complainant, a businessman, has however gone underground for fear of threat to his life from the accused.

Interestingly, the cops took over three months to inquire into allegations leveled by Varinder Dhir, a local, against Gunraj Singh, a cousin of Sukhpal Singh Nannu, former chief parliamentary secretary and senior BJP leader from Ferozepur.

Thereafter, a case under section 386 (extortion after putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt)), 420 (cheating), 423 (fraudulent execution of deed of transfer containing false statement of consideration), 465 (forgery), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 474 (having possession of forged document and intending to use it as genuine) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) was registered against Gunraj Singh and his two aides Ashwani Saini and Baljinder Singh - all of them residents of Hoshiarpur.

Sources said that Gunraj Singh had approached "power corridors" soon after FIR registration to plead his innocence and to seek relief from getting arrested.

The senior superintendent of police (SSP) Sukhchain Singh Gill had reportedly got "instructions" to give a personal hearing to the accused, sources said.

The role of the station house officer (SHO) concerned has also come under scanner for not arresting these accused in time, thus, in turn giving enough room to them to escape after FIR registration on September 11.

"I went underground soon after FIR registration against Gunraj Singh, who threatened to eliminate me for approaching the police for justice. I am forced to hide till the accused will be arrested. The accused are well connected personalities even as the senior police officials got the inquiry conducted in a judicious manner. I am afraid that the accused will kill me. Where shall I go now?" a frightened Dhir told Hindustan Times at one of his hideouts. 

Attempts to contact Gunraj Singh proved futile as his mobile phone numbers - 98144-70196 and 94637-02303 were switched off.

"The accused don't fear the law while threats are still being issued to me since Gunraj is related to the BJP leader Nannu," Dhir alleged, adding that Nannu should desist from exerting pressure on the police.

Dhir had complained to the police that Gunraj Singh had cheated him in emu business and forcibly took away the property related documents, blank stamp papers and a cheque worth Rs. 60-lakh.

He alleged that to grab his property, the accused made him sign a blank paper at gunpoint. Dhir said the accused even tried to blackmail Pathankot resident Gurdip Singh Sethi with whom he had fixed an agreement to sell his property worth crores of rupees, but Sethi recorded the entire conversation with the accused and its CDs were handed over to the police to expose his misdeeds.

Dhir alleged that his old acquaintance Ashwani Saini of Red road, who was aware of their business matters, had conspired with Gunraj to cheat them. "Saini introduced me to Gunraj, who runs JR Emu Farms and Hatcheries in Hoshiarpur. In June 2012, both induced him to start emu farming on false promises and sold him emu birds at exorbitant prices. Gunraj caused me a loss of around Rs. 60 lakh in the business, as emu farming is not viable in Punjab," Dhir alleged in his complaint.

SSP Gill, when contacted, said that the accused would be arrested after collection of requisite material evidence since it was an economic offence. "A special investigation team headed by an SP rank official is being constituted to further investigate the case," he said.

Nannu denied he was protecting his cousin from any police action. "I stand by Dhir and guilty, if any, will face the punishment as per law," he added.

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