A distant cousin of former Akali minister Bibi Upinderjit Kaur shot dead his wife and two children before committing suicide here on Wednesday morning.
Avtar Singh (42), a property dealer with a postgraduate degree in agriculture sciences, used his .12-bore double-barrelled rifle to kill his family and himself at his residence. His wife Rupinder Kaur (40), mentally-challenged son Gaurav Parteek Singh (13) and daughter Amanat Kaur (7) lost their lives. The police have registered a case against Avtar under Section 302 (murder) of the India Penal Code.
(Avtar Singh with his family. HT Photo)
The police claimed that the prolonged illness of his son probably drove Avtar to take the extreme step. Gaurav, who was mentally challenged by birth, was undergoing intensive treatment. Avtar used to fulfil every wish of the boy, relatives claimed.
Around 5:35am, Avtar shot twice at his wife with his licensed rifle and thereafter killed his children. Later, he called up his cousin Karamjeet Singh, first cousin of Bibi Upinderjit Kaur, and his sister-in-law's husband Sukhraj Singh.
Karamjeet told HT, "Avtar told me that he had killed his family members and was now going to kill himself. I rushed to his house with Sukhraj. The main gate was locked and we entered by scaling a wall. In the bedroom, we found the entire family dead."
Karamjeet informed the police control room, following which cops reached the spot and noted down the statements of Karamjeet, Sukhraj and other relatives.
Avtar's brother Manmohan Singh lives in the neighbourhood with his family, but they reportedly did not hear the shots. Manmohan was informed about the incident by Karamjeet and Sukhraj.
He was a caring father: Brother
A stunned Manmohan said, "Avtar was very affectionate towards his children, especially his son. He left no stone unturned for the boy's treatment. He had faced financial problems last year, but the matter was resolved as far as I know."
Kapurthala senior superintendent of police (SSP) Inderbir Singh said, "Prima facie, it appears that depression due to his son's sickness forced Avtar to take this step. It could also be related to his financial affairs. No suicide note was found at the spot."
Superintendent of police (detective) Diljinder Singh Dhillon said Avtar fired five rounds and one round was recovered from the rifle. "He fired two rounds at his wife. On hearing the shots, his daughter woke up. Then he shot her and his son."
Very unfortunate, says ex-minister
Bibi Upinderjit Kaur, who lives in Kapurthala town, served as the finance minister in the previous Akali-BJP government (2007-12) after Manpreet Singh Badal tendered his resignation. She failed to retain her Sultanpur Lodhi seat in the 2012 assembly polls.
Speaking to the media on the tragedy, she said, "It is very unfortunate. Avtar was fairly well-off. He could not have done it due to financial problems."