Social activist Palvinder Singh Turna, one of the key accused in the forged-death-certificate-for-visa case and wanted by the city police, which had also issued a look out circular (LOC) against him, was on Sunday spotted at a public function alongside transport minister Ajit Singh Kohar.
Turna, who heads the Baba Farid Welfare and Charitable Society at Shahkot, organised a fair at his native village Fakruwal, where Kohar was the chief guest.
Kohar, who arrived at the venue at around 11am, remained there till 2pm and Turna was by his side throughout, sources said. Even the district (rural) police were present at the fair but no one dared arrest Turna, who allegedly is close to Kohar, sources said.
Additional deputy commissioner of police (special cell) Diljinder Singh Dhillon, who is investigating the case, expressed surprise at Turna's presence in the area and had no justification about the police's failure to arrest Turna, who is reportedly at large in the police record.
When HT pointed out that big hoardings were displayed in the area about the fair, which showed that Turna was the organiser, why were the police not alerted to arrest him, the ADCP said he would seek a clarification from the inquiry officer.
Meanwhile, Shahkot DSP Mukhwinder Singh showed ignorance about Turna being wanted in a case. "I don't have any written information regarding the case against Turna or whether he is wanted by the city police," the DSP told HT.
Interestingly, Kohar knew that the city police were looking for Turna. On September 20, when HT had asked Kohar whether he would attend the function being organised by Turna, who was wanted by the police, Kohar was non-committal about his association with Turna, saying he might not attend the function.
Investigation by HT revealed that there are three pending cases of fraud against Turna, two of which were registered at the Indira Gandhi International Airport police station in 2008 and one in Navi Baradari police station of the city last year.
Though Turna was not a suspect in the recent British visa racket case initially, his name cropped up during sustained police investigation to know the source of one of the forged death certificates of an NRI, which was presented to seek visa for his client Jaswinder Singh.
"On the basis of a forged death certificate and other documents sent by the UK embassy, Turna's hand in forging the document was detected. Turna had guaranteed visa to Jaswinder in lieu of Rs 6 lakh," Dhillon told HT.
Turna was booked for fraud on September 3 at the Navi Baradari police station and was reported to be at large, Dhillon said.
Kohar could not be contacted for comment.