A senior Punjab Police officer hit the headlines for an assault on him that fractured his leg on Christmas eve last year. Almost a year on, SSP SS Mand did a U-turn on the accused, Maninderpal Singh alias Sunny Johar, saying he had received the injury as he had just fallen down.
Eleven months on, the prosecution is yet to move the Ludhiana district court for framing of charges against Johar and his co-accused, despite the fact that a challan in the case was filed in the court in February 2013.
A closer look at the case revealed that the name of Mand, who was then AIG (counter intelligence), Ludhiana, in the SP rank and was elevated as SSP after his recovery, was actually omitted from the FIR registered on December 25, 2012.
The Ludhiana cops, who kept Mand out of the entire challan script as well, however, kept him as one of the main witnesses in the case.
Mand figures as prosecution witness number 3 in an annexure with the challan that was filed in the Ludhiana district court on February 22.
Since February, the police have not moved the court for the mandatory framing of charges against Johar
and two other accused, Aman and Rishi Handa.
They were booked under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 395 (dacoity), 148 (rioting while armed with deadly weapon) and 149 (unlawful assembly guilty of offence) of the IPC and sections 25, 27, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act in the FIR dated December 25, 2012 registered at police station Division No 8, Kailash Chowk, Ludhiana, for attacking Mand and his Canada-based friend Paramjit Singh, the main complainant in the case.
Johar, along with the other accused, had attacked Mand, Paramjit and Fang, a resident of Ludhiana, at his Ludhiana pub on the night of December 24.
Mand hit the headlines for his broken leg and never denied the incident reported in the papers then.
The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), however, was quick to react to the reported closeness of Johar with revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia, issuing a statement that Johar was shunted out of the SAD long ago.
It is learnt that Johar got a severe thrashing at the hands of the cops during his police remand and remained behind bars for almost six months before being released on bail in June.
What the FIR says
Paramjit had signed the FIR as the complainant in which Mand's name was not mentioned at all. All the FIR stated about Mand's leg fracture was, "My friend, who hurt his leg after a fall, was taken to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital by Fang."
Who was this friend? Did he suffer the fracture on his leg due to the reported fall? As such questions remain to be answered, Fang, when contacted, said he had not been contacted by the police nor did he receive any court notice related to the case so far.
While Paramjit could not be contacted in Canada, Fang was surprised to know that he had been named as prosecution witness number 2 in a challan annexure of the witnesses. "The case should reach its logical conclusion in public interest," Fang said, adding that he was not in a position to say anything further.
Plea for relief in HC
Johar has now moved the Punjab and Haryana high court for the quashing of section 307 of the IPC in the FIR, stating in the petition, "The case pending before the trial court and the dispute has since been settled." The hearing has been fixed for December 18.
Amid Mand's silence over the incident, Johar also pleaded in his petition that there was no injury caused to the victim that makes it a case for adding section 307 of the IPC to the FIR.
'I already said I fell down' Mand, who was elevated as SSP after he recovered from the injuries, told HT that he did not want to comment. "I have already said that I fell down," he said, adding that he was unaware that he was one of the main witnesses in the case.