Questions remain in the encounter at Moga on Wednesday evening, though Chandigarh Police claim they had gone there to arrest the three accused in a robbery and sexual assault case registered here on June 22.
Senior superintendent of police Sukhchain Singh Gill told the media on Friday that the encounter was not planned. “On the complaint of Moga’s Harpinder, we had booked Gurcharan Singh “Rinku”, Sashipal Singh and Shinder Singh, for causing injuries, criminal intimidation, robbery, criminal conspiracy, and violating the Information Technology Act, and moved in to arrest them,” said Gill.
Harpinder had reported that these three men, along with another two, had barged into his house, attacked him with a baseball bat, and shot an objectionable video. “We informed the Moga police before moving in,” said Gill, ducking further questions about the incident, stating only that the magisterial now would bring out the truth.
Two days since the encounter, Chandigarh Police, so far, have failed to establish that victim Sukhdev was in Chandigarh during the June 22 robbery. Asked about it, Gill said: “It is a matter of investigation.”
If the accused were dangerous criminals of Moga indeed, it’s unclear why the Chandigarh cops didn’t ask Punjab Police to help in the operation, when they were in the know especially; and also why there were not in police uniform. The eight-member Chandigarh crime branch team was well armed,
which suggests they were ready for the encounter.
The claim that victim Sukhdev and injured Rinku were together during the shootout also is doubtful, since another Chandigarh Police version puts them with different people. Police are yet to register any case against Balraj and Jagmeet, who are named in the assault report of Harpinder.
The man had alleged that Rinku and others were contract killers assigned to eliminate him. Accused Balraj and Jagmeet are based in the US for the past six months but the police are yet to write to Interpol to proceed against them, even though Harpinder claims that he remains under threat.
Intent or nor?
This is just not an odd case where Chandigarh Police have gone to another state. We got out at times for recovering stolen vehicles, and carry arms where we see a risk.
Sukhchain Singh Gill, Chandigarh SSP
The cops had not gone to Moga with the intent of carrying out an encounter. They had gone there to catch the people accused of attacking, robbing and sexually abusing a man.
Jagbir Singh, DSP (crime), Chandigarh