Over a month after a 23-year-old woman from Gurdaspur jumped to her death from a sixth-floor flat owned by Punjab superintendent of police (SP) Mohan Lal, then posted at Batala, the 50-year-old officer has been booked for abetting her suicide.
Though the death of Loveleen Kaur at Rishi Apartments in Zirakpur had left several questions unanswered about the role of the SP — since transferred to the crime branch at the Punjab Police headquarters in Chandigarh — the police remained tightlipped and only started inquest proceedings as the family of the woman also did not file a complaint. Her father Lakhwinder Singh, a head constable working under Mohan Lal at Batala then, later came out of pressure allegedly exerted by Mohan Lal, and filed a complaint alleging illegal confinement and rape of his daughter on the pretext of getting her recruited in the Punjab Police.
At this, a three-member team including SP (detective) Balwinder Singh, Zirakpur station house officer (SHO) Trilochan Singh and crime investigation agency (CIA) in-charge Gurcharan Singh was constituted for further investigation. So far, charges of rape have not been pressed, though SHO Trilochan Singh said Mohan Lal may be charged not only for rape but also for destruction of evidence in the flat as the woman was allegedly beaten up and bloodied before she reportedly killed herself.
"The post-mortem report had confirmed that the woman was sexually exploited, and the probe has found that initially Mohan Lal promised to marry her (though he's married already), but later started pressuring her to marry another man from his family," the SHO said, adding that the charges would be added to the FIR only after the post-mortem report is brought on record in the case.
When contacted, SP Mohan Lal denied that he had confined the young woman forcibly. “She was here to get training,” he claimed, without elaborating on which training and where. When asked to explain why he had allegedly brought the girl to Zirakpur, why she jumped from his flat and why he didn’t inform the police and rather escaped after locking the house, Mohan Lal disconnected the phone amd switched it off.
Punjab Human Rights Organisation, a non-governmental organisation, had already moved the Punjab and Haryana high court to demand registration of an FIR against SP Mohan Lal. The court had issued notice to the SAS Nagar police to file a reply.