The court of additional district and sessions judge on Friday sentenced three people, including the then Faridkot tehsildar Ram Singh, now posted SDM in Garhshankar, to five-year imprisonment in a 10-year-old case.
The court also sentenced Balwinder Singh, then a patwari, and Karamjit Singh, former sarpanch of Tehna village, besides slapping a fine of `8,000 each.
While three other accused died in 10 years, the court acquitted the then SHO of Faridkot police station, Darshan Singh, who has now been posted as DSP in Muktsar district.
The verdict was delivered in a case registered against seven people, including three revenue officials, three police employees and a sarpanch, under Section 436 (destroying house by fire) besides other sections of the IPC.
As per the complaint moved in the court by one Tarsem Singh, the accused had come to take possession of the village common land and set 13 ‘jhuggis’ on fire, which also resulted in loss of luggage to the complainant and others besides endangering their life.
Though the affected families had reportedly approached senior police officials to get a case registered, no action was taken on their complaint, it was alleged. The complainant and others later moved the court to get a case registered.
Tarsem Singh had said they were living in ‘jhuggis’ on the village common land by forming the Jiwan Singh society before the construction of pucca houses with the permission of the district administration. But a team of the revenue and police officials accompanied by the village sarpanch allegedly burnt their houses on June 18, 2004, he said.
The accused had pleaded not guilty in the case claiming that there was no incident of burning of ‘jhuggis’ and it was only an attempt to clear the government land.