A 57-year-old inspector posted with the UT police traffic wing was stabbed to death, while a 42-year-old home guard volunteer was left injured, allegedly by a suspended UT constable from Haryana wanted for murder and his woman accomplice, barely 100 metres from the Sector 17 police station gate in the wee hours of Saturday.
Daringly having driven away in the two cops' Gypsy, the accused couple - believed to be 23-year-old Basant Singh, alias Bunty, and his girlfriend Sarita - encountered a brief, unsuccessful chase by police control room (PCR) vehicles, but managed to escape after leaving the Gypsy in Dhanas village, around 7km from the murder spot.
Inspector Sucha Singh, who succumbed to stab injuries at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), and home guard Jarnail Singh, who remains hospitalised, reportedly noticed the suspicious-looking couple near the gates of the old district court complex in Sector 17, carrying a bag, around 2.15am.
According to senior superintendent of police (SSP) Naunihal Singh, Sucha asked the couple why they were they roaming about so late at night, and their answers were not satisfactory so he asked them to sit in the Gypsy to go to the police post.
As the couple sat in the Gypsy after some resistance, and Jatinder took a turn towards the police post located at the bus terminus nearby, the man took out a knife and attacked Sucha, who was not carrying his service revolver. As he stabbed Sucha in the neck, chest and back, the woman pounced on Jatinder before the man also attacked him and snatched the Gypsy's keys, it is alleged. In the commotion, Sucha manage to sound the control room.
Jatinder, who as home guard is not entitled to firearms, ran towards the police station, while the couple threw Sucha out and the man got behind the wheel. Minutes later, dodging the cops (two PCR vehicles gave a chase) the couple escaped after abandoning the Gypsy in Ambedkar Colony, Dhanas.
Sucha and Jatinder were, meanwhile, taken to Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH) in Sector 16, from where they were referred to the PGIMER. Sucha succumbed around 7.45am, while Jatinder remains in the institute's Advanced Trauma Centre.
After registering a case of murder besides other charges, a special investigation team (SIT) was constituted under deputy superintendent of police (DSP), crime, Satbir Singh. At least 200 cops were deployed around 3am for a search operation. Inspector general of police (IGP) RP Upadhyaya and SSP Naunihal Singh inspected the spot and also went to the PGIMER around 4am.
Needle of suspicion points to Bunty
Chandigarh SSP Naunihal Singh, who suspects suspended constable Basant Singh (23) alias Bunty to be the murderer, said that any couple stopped for verification would not have acted so desperately and killed a policeman unless they wanted to conceal something.
Home guard Jatinder Singh, who was injured in the attack, said after being shown Bunty's photograph on Saturday morning that the attacker was indeed him.
Bunty had been suspended from Chandigarh Police after he allegedly killed the husband and mother-in-law of the woman with whom he was having an affair previously, at Deepalpur village in Haryana's Sonepat district on April 18, 2013.
Bunty and the woman, Sarita, suspected to be his accomplice in the Friday night attack, have been untraceable since the Sonepat double murder, though Bunty also faces the charge of having 'abducted' her.
Police sources further said the woman suspect, accompanying the around six feet tall male suspect on Friday night, also addressed him as Bunty. They spoke in a Haryanavi dialect.