Superintendent of police (SP) Amandeep Kaur, head constable Harminder Singh and three traders conspired to falsely implicate excise and taxation officer Ranjit Singh, thus forcing him to commit suicide, the special investigation team (SIT) probing the matter has concluded.
It was on the basis of the SIT findings that the SAS Nagar police on Thursday filed a challan in the district courts here, more than two months after the registration of an FIR against the accused.
Amandeep and her alleged conduits Harminder and the three traders were booked on August 18 for falsely accusing the ETO of bribery in March last year. The ETO had committed suicide soon after his release from jail. A high-level two-member probe had indicted the accused for the fake trap.
"Finally, with the filing of the challan, we hope things will start moving and we would get justice from the court. The police had been going slow in the case and had failed to make even a single arrest even two months after the registration of the FIR," the ETO's widow, Manjit Kaur, told HT on the phone.
Disheartened by the failure of the police to act against the accused, Manjit had even threatened to proceed on a fast-unto-death in case no action was taken. "I still fail to understand why the accused have not yet been arrested," said Manjit.
The SAS Nagar police, following a court order, had booked Amandeep, who was then posted with the Punjab vigilance bureau (VB), Harminder and three traders Rajinder Singh, Rajiv Sood and Paramjit Singh who acted as complainants in the fake VB trap. The accused were booked for abetting the ETO's suicide, besides other offences, in the FIR registered at the Phase 1 police station, SAS Nagar.
The two cops and the traders have now been charged under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 306 (abetment to suicide), besides offences related to criminal intimidation, forgery and creation of false evidence, as defined in the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Sections 7 (taking illegal gratification) and 13(2) (criminal misconduct) of the Prevention of Corruption Act have also been included.
The SIT that re-investigated the case included superintendent of police (detective) Balwinder Singh, DSP (city) RS Sohal and the SHO, Phase 1 police station.
The ETO, Ranjit Singh, was falsely in March 2011. He committed suicide a month later while on bail. In a three-part series ('Custodians of Corruption') beginning on February 16, 2012, HT had reported how a high-level probe had exposed the trap as fake and indicted the SP and the head constable. The panel had recommended cases to be registered, but the government had not been taking any action.
Special-cum-additional sessions judge Rajinder Aggarwal had on July 27 ordered the registration of the FIR on the plea of the ETO's widow.
March 29, 2011 VB arrests ETO Ranjit Singh in Mohali in a trap laid by SP Amandeep Kaur
April 20 Ranjit gets bail; commits suicide by consuming poison two days later
April 29 Chief secy forms inquiry panel
July 9 Panel submits report to chief secy; indicts cops, traders
Jan-Mar 2012 ETO's widow Manjit Kaur leaves country after being denied security, returns several weeks later; home secy writes to CM to implement probe panel recommendations for punitive action
April 2012 Manjit Kaur approaches HC; notice issued to Punjab govt (case is still on); she also complains to Mohali court about police's refusal to lodge FIR
July 20 SP Amandeep's anticipatory bail plea rejected
July 27 Mohali district court orders FIR on Manjit's plea
October 25 Police file challan in the court