The district police are reportedly under pressure from leaders of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to give a clean chit to liquor contractors booked for allegedly murdering an ex-serviceman at Thathi Bhai village in Smalsar here. It is learnt that the police have decided to exclude the names of the liquor contractors from the first information report (FIR).
On the night of November 3, Beant Singh, 35, a retired army havaldar and a resident of Cheeda village, had gone to a liquor vend owned by Sunny Gill and Harjinder Singh. He objected to liquor being sold at a higher price. Following this, three workers beat him up to death at the behest of their contractors.
The liquor shop had reportedly been sealed by the excise department recently because of non-renewal of its licence. Notwithstanding, the contractors continued to openly sell liquor from a vehicle parked outside their shop at exorbitant rates.
On November 4, Smalsar police had booked five people, including Sunny Gill and Harjinder Singh, and their aides Sant Ram, Jagdeep Singh alias Giani of Moga and Jeet Singh of Smalsar, on charges of murder.
Sources say Gill, who is said to be close to some SAD leaders, has meddled in the investigation to clear his name from the case. Gill has liquor business interests in Moga, Ludhiana, and Sangrur and reportedly also owns shares in Fastway Cable Network Company that is allegedly owned by the Badals.
The police have failed to arrest any of the five accused booked in the case even after 10 days. When asked about no arrest in the case, Bhupinder Singh, station house officer, Smalsar, said the police would arrest the accused after completing the investigation and this will take another week. He added, “There is no role of the liquor contractors in the crime as they were not present on the spot when the crime took place. The police are still investigating the case.” However, Jaspal Singh, deputy superintendent of police, Baghapurana, confirmed that the accused have managed to “arrange the inquiry” in the case.
Snehdeep Sharma, senior superintendent of police, Moga. was not available for comments.
Meanwhile, the deceased’s cousin Jaswant said he was not aware of any development in the case as the family was busy in the ‘bhog’ ceremony of Beant, which concluded on Sunday.