The Punjab police have finally recorded the evidential statements of the bereaved family whose man was killed in an alleged fake encounter near Rupnagar in August 1994 when the cops involved had claimed that the body was that of wanted terrorist Gurnam Singh Bandala.
Four years after the ‘encounter’, Bandala was found alive and was arrested in 1998, raising a question mark over the identity of the man killed.
On September 12 and 13 this year, additional director general of police (ADGP) IPS Sahota, who heads the panel probing the entire gambit, recorded the statements of the bereaved family members of Sukhpal Singh, who was killed in the alleged fake encounter, while human rights activist Col GS Sandhu, a whistleblower in the case, recorded his statement on Wednesday.
Disclosing this at a press conference here, Col Sandhu was skeptical over the outcome of the ongoing probe, and demanded a CBI inquiry into “all such fake encounters”. He pointed out that a similar inquiry was assigned in May 2007 to then ADGP (railways) JP Birdi, who died during the course of inquiry.
Col Sandhu said victim’s wife Dalbir Kaur had also moved the Punjab and Haryana high court in August 2013, seeking justice and pointing out that the state was dilly-dallying the probe in the alleged fake encounter that was conducted by then DSP Paramraj Singh Umranangal, who is currently DIG, Bathinda range. Col Sandhu said, “Once it had come to light that Bandala was alive, why no FIR was registered against Umranangal for fabricating records to show a living person as dead and claiming a medal and cash reward for it and further for murder of a person who had been actually killed.”
The Punjab police are yet to file their reply in the court that will hear the case on November 4.
Acknowledging the ongoing police probe, DIG (administration) Balkar Singh Sidhu said no timeframe had been set to complete the inquiry. “I cannot reply to any further query as the matter is sub judice,” he added.
He, however, clarified that the inquiry panel was formed suo motu in the absence of any court orders. Sidhu is part of the inquiry panel headed by ADGP Sahota. DSP Rajinder Singh Sohl is also a member of the panel, who recorded Col Sandhu’s statement in SAS Nagar.