Unidentified persons allegedly attacked the man who had blown the lid on a land scam in Jhamat village, near here, in which 18.5 acres of Panchayat land was sold to private entities illegally in 1994. Apart from whistleblower Gurmukh Singh, one Balraj Singh was also attacked.
The incident took place when Gurmukh was going back to Jhamat after visiting the Hindustan Times office in Ludhiana. HT unveiled the land scam on June 18 this year and has been following up the case.
The assailants allegedly stopped Gurmukh's Nano car by obstructing it with a silver Bolero, a few kilometres short of Jhamat. The Bolero allegedly did not have a number plate. Three men carrying rods allegedly attacked Gurmukh and Balraj and stopped only after one of them said, "He is dead, let's take out the records and leave the spot."
Gurmukh alleged, "I held my breath to mislead them into believing that I was dead. Then they took out my wallet, mobile phone, picked up the record files, car's registration card and even took away the car keys before fleeing from the spot. The assailants attacked Balraj, mistaking him for Gurpal Singh, the other whistleblower in the scam case."
Gurmukh also accused a political leader of being behind the attack, saying, "One of the accomplices is a close aide of the leader, who is hand in glove with those responsible for selling the panchayat land."
Deputy commissioner of police Gurpreet Singh Toor, when apprised of the matter, immediately sent the Haibowal SHO to the spot and said, "This is a matter of a clash between two groups and I have called both the parties on Saturday to resolve the matter. Also, we will take action against the guilty."
However, Gurmukh and Balraj accused the SHO of having misbehaved with them and having asked them to stay away from the case. This is allegedly the third attempt to eliminate the whistleblowers.