District and sessions judge VK Puri on Saturday transferred the anticipatory bail application of Shiv Lal Doda, an Akali leader and liquor baron, from the court of additional district and sessions judge Gopal Arora in the Abohar murder case after the latter expressed ‘reservations’ about hearing the matter on technical grounds.
Doda’s counsel Ramesh Birla said, “In a communique, Arora said he had been elevated as additional district and sessions judge less a than year ago, while as per rules, it is mandatory to have an experience of minimum one year to hear a case pertaining to charges of murder, so Doda’s plea for anticipatory be shifted to some other judge.”
“The case has now been allotted to additional district and sessions judge Jatinder Walia. The next hearing would be held on Monday,” Birla added.
Meanwhile, the public prosecutor who appeared on behalf of the Fazilka police in a Fazilka court last Saturday at the hearing of Doda’s anticipatory bail plea, claimed that the police had substantial evidence against Doda in the murder case.
“In view of the proof against him, the police need Doda’s custodial interrogation to ascertain his role in the murder,” pleaded the public prosecutor.
Surinder Tinna, counsel for the victims, opposed Doda’s anticipatory bail, claiming that the dying declaration by Bhim Sain, alleging Doda’s role in the case, was sufficient to arrest the latter.
Doda’s counsel claimed that the liquor baron was innocent and it was the handiwork of his political opponents to tarnish his image.
The Fazilka police have so far arrested 22 accused, while four others, including Doda, are still absconding. A case under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 148 (rioting with deadly weapons), and 120-B (punishment for criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code was registered initially against 17 persons. Later, following public outrage over the murder, police added the names of Doda and Amit, besides seven others.
On December 11, Bhim and his associate Gurjant Singh were attacked with sharp-edged weapons at the liquor baron’s farmhouse. Bhim, whose limbs were chopped off, later died at a hospital in Amritsar. Gurjant, whose limbs were also severed in the attack, is under treatment.
Bhim Sain had criminal record
Murder victim Bhim Sain, a 27-year-old Dalit, had a criminal background. He had been booked in 11 cases at police stations of Abohar on charges such as attempt to murder, rape and trespass.
About six years ago, the tall, well-built Bhim was working as an ice vendor, just like Shiv Lal Doda, before the latter entered the liquor trade, sources said. A year later, he started looking after Doda’s liquor business in the region.
“Bhim had publicly thrashed the father of ‘Paari’, a 21-year-old youth who allegedly chopped off his limbs out of revenge on December 11,” police sources added.