A four-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) was formed on Tuesday to probe the suicide by local cable operator Jaswinder Singh Jassi, who had died at a private nursing home on Monday.
Police commissioner Jatinder Aulakh said the SIT headed by deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Harjinder Singh comprised ADCP (special) HS Brar, ACP (north) Harjit Singh Daliwal and Civil Lines SHO Sukhwinder Singh Randhawa. The SIT will give its report in 15 days.
Meanwhile, after the expiry of the 24-hour deadline, the police are still clueless about the whereabouts of Gurdeep Singh, managing director of Fastway Transmissions Private Limited, and his associates, Sarabjit Singh Raju and Pritpal Singh Lalli, the three prime accused in the case.
Raju, incharge of Fastway Cables in Amritsar, and Akali leader Lalli have been on the run since Saturday, the day Jassi consumed a pesticide during a meeting of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT). Three judges of the Supreme Court and the Punjab and Haryana high court were present when the deceased consumed the pesticide to draw the attention of the judges towards his plight at the hands of a "cable mafia" that had taken over his cable network business in the walled city.
Both Raju, who enjoys proximity with political leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal, and Lalli, along with Gurdeep Singh and two other unnamed persons, were booked under Section 306 of the IPC (abetment to suicide) on the basis of the suicide note recovered from the site of the crime. The police have expressed its seriousness in arresting the accused irrespective of their political affiliations, but without success.
The 24-hour deadline expired at 4pm on Tuesday following which the family of the deceased, along with friends and relatives and fellow cable operators, took out a candlelight march demanding the arrest of the accused.
Cops soft on Fastway MD
The police seem to be soft-pedalling on the role of Gurdeep Singh, the MD of Fastway, the company that controls the cable business in Punjab. His name finds mention in the suicide note towards the end and he is referred to as "Gurdeep Singh, owner of Jujhar Bus Transport".
The police have confirmed that the owner of the transport company and Fastway is the same person. However, despite this confirmation, no effort has been made to arrest him, with all energies being concentrated on Raju and Lalli.
"We have not given a clean chit to Gurdeep; his role in the case will be investigated by the SIT. This is because Gurdeep was in no way linked to the Siti Cable sex scandal and the victim in the suicide note cites this case as the base which led Raju and others to threaten him and ruin his business," the police commissioner said, adding that Gurdeep had been named in the FIR, but his role was being verified.
Mystery of two suicide notes
Punjab Human Rights Organisation secretary Sarabjit Singh Verka claimed that two suicide notes were recovered from the hall of the local hotel where the TDSAT meeting was held on Saturday. This has been confirmed by a number of fellow cable operators of the deceased.
One of the notes was prepared by Jassi on March 25 and he had shown this at a meeting of TDSAT held in New Delhi the same day. He had threatened to take his life if justice was not given. There was no date on the note.
The second was written in a hurry on March 28 and was waved before the members of TDSAT, including the judges. The wording (in Punjabi) on the two notes was almost the same, barring a few changes. In the note that was flashed in Delhi, Gurdeep was mentioned as Fastway MD. However, in the note flashed at the Amritsar meeting, Gurdeep was mentioned as MD of the transport company.
From the wordings in the FIR registered at the Civil Lines police station, the police seem to have based their case on the note prepared in Delhi as Gurdeep has been mentioned as Fastway MD in the FIR.
Loopholes in FIR
The role of Gurdeep is not clearly mentioned in the FIR, which is clear on the roles of Raju and Lalli. Based on the suicide note, the FIR states that the duo was harassing Jassi and he was going to end his life because of these two. However, there is no mention on whether the Fastway MD was responsible for the extreme step.
Interestingly, police commissioner Aulakh is unaware that Raju carried Punjab Police gunmen with him. Raju, who is often seen with gunmen, was provided the facility in 2009.
Aulakh said, "I am not aware that Raju has gunmen. I will have to check with the security branch."
When asked whether Jassi was given security following an instruction by the CBI, Aulakh said Jassi never came to them for seeking security.
Jassi had sought security as he was a witness in the infamous Siti Cable sex scandal case of 2003 in which Raju is the main suspect.