The Punjab and Haryana high court has granted two weeks' time to Punjab's director general of police (DGP) to take a decision on the representation of a widow seeking dismissal from service of Pritpal Singh Virk, former senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Amritsar (rural), in the custodial death case of her husband Tejinder Singh alias Billu, 29, at Sunam (Sangrur district) in 1993.
Virk was convicted in the case by the special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Patiala, along with five other policemen and was sentenced to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment in March this year.
The directions came from the court headed by justice Rameshwar Singh Malik on a petition filed by the deceased victim's widow, Sukhwinder Kaur, seeking Virk's suspension from the date of his conviction and sentence on March 11.
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Pardeep Goyal submitted that provisions contained in Rule 16.2 (2) of the Punjab Police Rules, 1934, provides for dismissal if the police officer was convicted on a criminal charge and sentenced to imprisonment. Despite that, the state government had not taken any action against Virk even after eight months of custody after conviction.
The court was informed that the petitioner had got the information under the Right To Information (RTI) Act that the state government had not dismissed Virk till date despite clear-cut rules on the subject and was thus forced to approach the high court.
According to the CBI, on the intervening night of May 12-13, 1993, Pritpal Singh Virk, then SP (detective) at Sangrur, along with his team, picked up Tejinder Singh Billu and his father Budh Singh from their house in Ram Nagar, Sunam, for suspected terrorist links. It was alleged that Billu and his father were given third-degree torture by cops in illegal custody and were then set free after around four days.
As per the CBI, the police then picked up Billu in June 1993 and interrogated him at the crime investigation agency's police station at Bahadur Singh Wala. Subsequently, Billu went missing and was presumed dead, but the police denied the allegations that they had picked him up.