In the sensational case of 2008 where an entire family, including three children, of an affluent trader from Pehowa town in the district had drowned themselves in a suicide pact, a local court on Friday convicted five people in the case.
Holding Hari Singh, Ram Kumar, Pehal Singh, Prem Singh and Bhram Singh guilty of abetting the suicide, the court of Ranjana Aggarwal sentenced them to five-year imprisonment.
The convicts are landlords from Kurukshetra who had refused to return the loaned money.
Sixth accused Mahavir Singh, who was an accountant of Mam Chand Singla, had died recently.
Mam Chand Singla, a debt-ridden arhtiya, along with his family -- wife Nirmala, sons Pradeep and Amit, daughters-in-law Bublee and Seema and grandchildren Ishika, Nancy and Nikita -- had driven his car into the Bhakra canal near Jyotisar village.
As Singla did not visit his office at a local mandi at Pehowa for the last few days, the staff informed his relatives. On visiting the house on March 16, 2008, the relatives and employees were shocked to find a suicide note scribbled on a wall of the house.
Singla had named these people for driving the family to suicide. It was written on the wall that the family would commit suicide in the canal as those named in the note had not returned his money amounting to Rs 2 crore.
Public prosecutor Kasturi Lal told HT on Friday that the police had also found a suicide note placed under a brick which was signed by Singla and his sons Pradeep and Amit.
"The note was authenticated by the forensic test and handwriting and it had emerged as clinching evidence in the crime," said Lal.
The spot, which was identified by the relatives, was nearly 100 m away from the main road and the bodies of seven members of the family were found from there. Their Maruti 800 car was recovered from the spot.
The bodies of Amit and Pradeep were recovered from the same canal at Kachwa village in Karnal district.
Lal said Singla had lent money to 21 locals, who had allegedly refused to pay him back. As his payments were stuck, he felt humiliated and committed suicide along with the family.
The public prosecutor said accountant Mahavir Singh was a trusted man of Singla but he had allegedly duped his employer of Rs 1.2 crore.
"The police investigation had said that Mahavir had fraudulently taken a bank loan of Rs 1 crore in Singla's name and embezzled Rs 20 lakh from the accounts. But during the trial he died," said Lal.
Meanwhile, police sources associated with the investigation said that since January 2008, Singla was regularly withdrawing money amounting to Rs 1 crore from various banks in Pehowa and had taken huge loans from arhtiyas.
He had mortgaged his house and had even sold gold worth Rs 5 lakh through a local trader.
"It was observed that Singla, who was held in high esteem among local traders, was clearing his debts by selling jewellery. Since he owed crores of rupees, poor resources left him with no option but to take the extreme step," said the official.
March 16:Mam Chand Singla and his family reported missing from their house at Pehowa in Kurukshetra.
March 30: Bodies of Pradeep and Amit were recovered from Bhakra canal, Karnal.
March 31: Bodies of seven others were recovered near Jyotisar village, Kurukshetra.
April 1:The last rites were performed after sunset amid highly charged atmosphere at Pehowa. Chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had to visit the place to pacify the agitated traders and residents and recommended probe by the CBI. Later, the state police investigated the case.
January 31:A Kurukshetra district court held five men guilty of abetting suicide and pronounced five-year jail term. The court sentenced them to five-year imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 each for abetment to suicide and two-year jail and a Rs 2,000 fine each for cheating.