Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi was once a dreaded terrorist of the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF), an outfit suspected to be behind the recent Ludhiana bomb blast.
But, that isn’t why Sukhi is on the run. He is running this time for his close links, not with terrorists, but the police.
After the arrest of Punjab’s former DGP S.S. Virk by the vigilance bureau on charges of alleged corruption and sheltering the likes of Sukhi, the police raided the former terrorist’s house on September 9.
Police say he is responsible for land-grabbing and involved in Virk’s allegedly illegal dealings.
Speaking to the Hindustan Times from an undisclosed destination, Sukhi narrated his story. He claimed he had not indulged in any unlawful activity but did not deny his connections with Virk.
“Virk was then a DIG. While I was interrogated over an extended period of two weeks, he convinced me to leave the ranks of the terrorists and help the police in busting terrorist hideouts,” Sukhi said.
“I am on the run because I fear torture,” he added.
Although alive, Sukhi was declared dead by the police in 1992. In February 2006, the Hindustan Times reported that he was running a travel agency in Jalandhar. The police had helped him assume a new identity — that of Harjit Singh Kahlon — after he had switched sides and helped them bust terrorist hideouts.
Following HT’s expose, the then state DGP, S.S. Virk, admitted that not just Sukhi, at least 300 other terrorists had been ‘rehabilitated’ after they helped the police.
Human rights groups say Sukhi’s case has again put the establishment’s questionable methods under scanner. “First the police co-opt a terrorist, then they allegedly use him for their own shady deals and book him for alleged activities taken up on their behalf. It’s not a matter of just investigating a case. A much deeper probe is necessary,” says a human rights activist.
According to human rights lawyer Kamini Jaiswal, Sukhi’s case has parallels with the case of the Parliament attack accused, Mohammed Afzal.
“Afzal too has claimed that he was a surrendered militant and a police informer. This is yet another case, where the police are being accused of using a former militant till it suits them and then dumping him,” she says.