The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday directed the Punjab government to file a reply on its June 17 decision of premature release of a life-term convict in a murder case, former cop Gurmeet Singh alias Pinki, from the Nabha jail even before completion of 10 years' actual sentence.
The court headed by justice K Kannan issued a notice of motion to the state government, the state director general of police and Pinki for December 1 on a petition filed by Amrik Singh, a resident of Ludhiana and father of the murder victim Avtar Singh. Avtar was murdered by then inspector Pinki in 2001.
Amrik has alleged that Pinki was released prematurely "due to his influence" after having served actual sentence of only seven years, seven months and 14 days, whereas the minimum period for consideration and acceptance of premature release application is 10 years. He has thus sought directions from the high court to the Punjab government authorities to take Pinki back into custody and confine him in jail for the remaining period of his sentence.
The court was informed that as per the information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act from Nabha Open Jail, Pinki was "granted parole six times against parole rules" for 23 weeks and five days just within 18 months' period. The petitioner also alleged that it is on record that Pinki had manipulated the parole procedures and also that inside jail he had been going out on numerous occasions on the pretext of attending court hearing and not returning overnight.
Even the high court, while dismissing his bail petitions, had observed in its order of September 3, 2009, that Pinki had "tried every trick to get frequent temporary release from jail", the HC was informed.
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate RS Bains submitted that "from the very beginning" the Punjab police and state government were "helping" Pinki in the case. Initially, the police were allegedly reluctant to register the FIR; and it was registered only after protests held by the residents of the area.
The petitioner has also sought directions to the state to make payment of compensation of `1 lakh to him as awarded by the Yamunanagar trial court vide its conviction order of September 30, 2006, which has not been paid to him till date.
Who is Pinki?
Gurmeet Singh alias Pinki, a resident of Mohali, has a notorious past and had murdered Avtar Singh in 2001 over a minor altercation. Pinki was reportedly in proximity with a large number of terrorists in Punjab and in the early nineties had been made a Punjab police 'cat' (commando), helping the police in its fight against terrorism. He later rose to the post of inspector reportedly because of his proximity to some higher-ups.