After the high court rejected his anticipatory bail plea, Akali leader and liquor baron Shiv Lal Doda, a prime accused in the Abohar murder case, surrendered before the Fazilka police on Friday.
“At 3.15 pm, Doda, accompanied by Abohar SAD block president Ashok Ahuja and his counsels, arrived at the office of SSP Indermohan Bhatti and surrendered himself,” sources said. He was taken to the local CIA staff where police questioned him.
Ferozepur DIG Amar Singh Chahal, who heads the four-member special investigation team probing the case, confirmed the surrender. Chahal said Doda would be presented before a court on Saturday.
Sources said that apprehending a protest by supporters of murder victim Bhim Sain, Doda appeared before the SSP office at Fazilka instead of at Abohar.
Doda’s anticipatory bail had been rejected by the court of Fazilka additional district and sessions judge Jatinder Walia, following which he had moved the Punjab and Haryana high court, which rejected his plea on Thursday.
Earlier, during arguments in the Fazilka court, the counsel for Doda had presented photographs and a video recording to show that Doda was in a Delhi hotel on December 11, the day Bhim was murdered at Doda’s farmhouse.
Opposing the anticipatory bail application, public prosecutor Navdeep Girdhar argued, “During a scrutiny of the call details of Doda and his nephew Amit, the police ascertained that Harry, a prime accused, had called up Amit before and after the murder.”
“The records seized from Doda’s farmhouse revealed that Bhim was his employee. Harry also worked for the liquor baron. The weapons used in the crime were recovered from another employee of Doda, while several accused among the 26 booked were also found to be his workers,” the public prosecutor said.
Surinder Tinna, counsel for the victims, said, “The police have substantial evidence against Doda and need his custody to ascertain his role. Moreover, Bhim’s dying declaration, alleging Doda’s role, is enough to arrest him.” After hearing the arguments, his application was rejected.
The Fazilka police so far have arrested 23 accused, while three others are 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 IPC was registered initially against 17 people. Later, following a public outrage, the police added the names of Doda and Amit to the FIR, besides those of seven others.
On December 11, Bhim and his associate, Gurjant Singh, were attacked with sharp-edged weapons at Doda’s farmhouse in Abohar. 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.
Meanwhile, Ashok Ahuja alleged that Abohar Congress MLA Sunil Jakhar had got Doda and nephew Amit falsely implicated in the case for political reasons.