Paedophile serial killer Darbara Singh, who left a trail of victims from Kapurthala to Jalandhar since he was first arrested in 1996, started out as an armyman.
Darbara was employed with the Mechanical Engineering Services (MES) unit of the army at Kapurthala. A back injury during an exercise at Mammon Cantonment in Pathankot left him impotent, it is said.
Superintendent of Police Rakesh Kaushal, appointed nodal officer for handling cases pending against Darbara Singh, recalls that he first arrested the serial killer in 1996 at Kapurthala. “Darbara worked in the MES unit of the army there. He was facing at least 10 charges of child abuse. He would pick up young girls aged six to nine and sexually abuse them. He had not begun killing his victims then.
“Darbara would have kept up his inhuman and ghastly acts had not a seven-year-old escaped his clutches. She told the police that the man who had lured her on his bicycle had a parrot in his house. This led to Darbara’s identification and arrest. We approached his seniors with evidence,” says Kaushal.
The court sent Darabara to 30 years in prison. He got bail after serving eight years in 2004 and set out to get his revenge. The killer left behind a trail of blood, this time in Jalandhar and nearby areas where at least six children went missing one after the other. Kaushal asked his seniors to direct the investigation towards Darbara and he was arrested in October 2004 on counts of abduction with intent to kill, murder and destruction of evidence.
“He had claimed up to 25 victims by the time,” recalls Ludhiana (Rural) District Police Chief Gurpreet Singh Bhullar who had led the arrest as Jalandhar SSP. “We were able to find the scattered skeletal remains of 17 children. Of the others, Darbara himself could not recall the site of crime. He expressed no remorse for the heinous crimes he had committed. His interrogation revealed that he nursed a grudge against migrant labourers for it was the daughter of one of them who had got him arrested the first time,” said Bhullar.
Bhullar said Darbara had been identifying his targets in slums, so the police team visited slums in and around Jalandhar.
(With inputs from Ludhiana)