Police have arrested the truck driver who had sped off following the Sunday accident in which HT’s Jalandhar-based journalist Jasdeep Malhotra died near Mukerian on the Jalandhar-Pathankot highway.
In a joint operation, the Pathankot and Himachal Pradesh police on Monday nabbed the driver from the adjoining Himachal area.
Pathankot SSP Surinder Kalia, his driver and gunman were injured in the mishap. According to the police, the truck driver’s statement and prima facie reports suggest no foul play.
Driver Harjit Singh was arrested while he was returning to his native village Lakhoke in Ferozepur district after loading building material in the truck from a stone crusher in Nurpur in Himachal.
Pathankot DSP (city) Virinder Sandhu told HT that they had arrested the driver and impounded the truck, PB05M 8277. The driver had been booked under Section 304-A of the IPC, he added.
Harjit claimed that he was on his way to loading building material from Nurpur on Sunday when he heard a siren from the back and tried to be on the extreme left to let overtake the vehicle which he did not see, said the DSP.
He said the driver claimed that he did see the SSP’s vehicle going off the road but as it did not hit his vehicle he chose to speed off to avoid harassment.
The DSP said, “As the SSP’s gunman gave us the truck’s description, we identified the vehicle at a naka. The driver on interrogation admitted the incident.
Sandhu said that as per primary reports, there was no reason to suspect the driver having mala fide intentions.
He said the condition of the injured SSP was improving.
After the accident, state Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa had held the mining mafia responsible for the accident as Malhotra had highlighted its wrongdoings in his last report.