Fake Sukhi enjoyed real power under police patronage
The chance arrest of Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi, once a dreaded terrorist belonging to Khalistan Liberation Force, by the Delhi Police from Jaislmer in Rajasthan on September 26 and his subsequent interrogation may open a Pandora's box in Punjab as he was given a new identity after being declared dead and was rehabilitated by the Punjab Police in 1992.chandigarh Updated: Oct 03, 2012 12:28 IST
The chance arrest of Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi, once a dreaded terrorist belonging to Khalistan Liberation Force, by the Delhi Police from Jaislmer in Rajasthan on September 26 and his subsequent interrogation may open a Pandora's box in Punjab as he was given a new identity after being declared dead and was rehabilitated by the Punjab Police in 1992.
The Delhi Police, who were looking for Ranjit Kandola, a drug lord from Punjab who had escaped from their custody, instead stumbled upon Sukhi at a farmhouse. According to the police, both Kandola and Sukhi were associated in drug trade. The Delhi Police arrested Kandola on Sunday.
Sukhi, 45, was shown as a dead proclaimed offender in police records, giving him the new name of Harjit Singh Kahlon. Though Sukhi was wanted in criminal cases of shootout, murder and dacoity, the Punjab Police closed his criminal chapter around 20 years ago.
While living under police protection, he wielded power from the top brass of the Punjab Police so much so that while living in Jalandhar under the assumed identity he would manage to get SHOs and ASIs transferred.
When Hindustan Times exposed the rehabilitation of Sukhi in 2006 and how he was living under the assumed identity, the entire Punjab Police went into an overdrive to ensure that law did not catch up with him.
Ludhiana police commissioner Ishwar Singh, who was then the SSP, Jalandhar, had expressed ignorance about the police transfers allegedly ordered at Sukhi's behest, saying the headquarters issued such orders in routine and it was difficult to keep track of all.
Vigilance Bureau DGP Suresh Arora, who was then IG (headquarters), had confirmed that transfers were ordered on administrative grounds but could not explain the specific reasons. "We get instructions from various senior officers of the rank of ADGPs and all fall under the jurisdiction of the office of the DGP," Arora had said.
His influence had emboldened Sukhi to extort money from Jallowal village sarpanch Tejpal Singh in 2006. Tejpal had alleged that in the extortion plan the then CIA inspector Gurmit Singh Pinky had an active role. Pinky was then posted at Fatehgarh Sahib.
When the Punjab Police decided to rehabilitate Sukhi, to ensure his safety and return to 'normal life' the once dreaded man was put up in a government house in New Baradari in Jalandhar for several years, surrounded by a large number of CRPF personnel.
Not only the police, the Jalandhar civil administration was also involved in providing Sukhi the accommodation, which was done through proxy. The house was allotted to Sukhi in the name of police constable Tarwinder Kumar.
The then Jalandhar deputy commissioner Ashok Kumar Gupta had said he could say anything only after checking the records.
From the same house, Sukhi operated his travel business and even got his travel company registered under the assumed identity. The authorities facilitated Sukhi with a new passport under the new name.
Former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh in response to a question in the state assembly in 2006 had admitted that Sukhi was shown dead by putting sauce on his clothes in the larger interest of the nation.
Former Punjab DGP SS Virk had also admitted at a press conference that the government had rehabilitated around 300 terrorists, who had helped the Punjab Police nab dreaded militants.