Finding the Haryana crime branch “wishing away the death case as suicide”, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday handed over the probe into the murder of Karam Singh, former sarpanch of Kambopura village in Karnal district last year, to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The case allegedly had the involvement of two MLAs, Om Parkash Jain and Jile Ram Sharma who were earlier part of the state government till their names figured in the case.
Jain was one of the seven independent MLAs to help Congress to form government in 2009. However, Sharma was one of the five Haryana Janhit Congress deserters to join Congress after the election results. Jain was later inducted in the government as state transport minister and Sharma as chief parliamentary secretary.
The directions came from the bench headed by justice Mahesh Grover, on a petition filed by deceased’s son, Rajender, seeking CBI investigation while raising questions on the probe of state crime branch’s special investigation team.
Karam Singh, 60, was brutally murdered on June 7, 2011 at Karnal after which an FIR was registered on the same day under sections 302 (murder) 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code at police station civil lines, Karnal.
The bench while pronouncing the judgment said, “conclusion arrived by the investigating agency are too simplistic and merely aim at wishing away the facts…”
The bench further added, “The court is mindful of the fact that allegations have been leveled against two prominent people (MLAs) in society and therefore, it would not be safe to entrust the investigation to any agency of the state.”
Justice Grover mentioned that there were as many as 58 punctured wounds on the deceased’s body with the corresponding marks on the vest, which he was wearing. “The injuries have been wished away as self inflicted and the thing which disturbed the court is that a person would not go on a jabbing spree of this kind to inflict injuries upon him and while most of them are on the abdomen, one or two injuries are at places where it is difficult for a right handed person to inflict a jab wound i.e. on the right scapula and similarly some on the legs,” stated the bench.
The bench further added that “it does not confirm to a prudent behaviour and needs a deeper probe as to how all these injuries have been inflicted upon a person.”
Regarding the presence of aluminium phosphide (poisonous chemical) in deceased’s body, justice Grover stated that it was a “superficial explanation” by the investigating agency to wish away the death as suicide by saying that it cannot be consumed by an individual without his knowledge.
The bench also observed, “it is also intriguing that the cousin of the deceased, namely Chamel Singh was murdered within few days thereafter. He was said to be an important link to unravel the cause of death of Karam Singh.” The order further reads that all these aspects do raise some disturbing aspects, which need an independent probe “to instill confidence in the general public about the rule of law prevailing in the country”.
On the submissions of the advocates appearing for two MLAs that Karam Singh himself as a person indulging in nefarious activities of collecting money from people in return of promised employment, the bench said that it does not mean that he should be murdered.
The protests triggered by deceased’s family members had led to resignation of the then state transport minister Om Parkash Jain and chief parliamentary secretary Jile Ram Sharma on June 9 last year for their alleged involvement in the murder.
Later, declaring it as suicide, the special investigation team of the Haryana crime branch had ruled out any possibility of former sarpanch’s murder.