Former Akali leader Ranjit Singh Rana and four others received rigorous life imprisonment (which may extend till death) on Friday for the December 2012 murder of in-uniform Punjab Police assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Ravinderpal Singh, who had only been trying to protect the honour of his daughter.
Along with prime accused Ranjit Singh Rana, who was then general secretary of the district unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), accomplices Dharamjit Singh, Sandeep Rampal, Gurbir Singh, and Vikram Ohri have also been held guilty. Additional sessions judge Harpreet Kaur Randhawa delivered the sentence here around 1pm.
On December 5, 2012, Rana and others shot police officer Ravinderpal Singh when he confronted them for their harassing his daughter, Robinjit Kaur, who had reported that Rana had done it repeatedly. The ASI was then posted at Gharinda.
The police report at that time stated that during the confrontation at Chheharta 7 kilometres from Amritsar, Rana had first gone away after shooting the officer in the legs and come back with another gun to kill him. The splinters hit Robinjit Kaur in the hand. The police arrested Rana the same night from a border village in Tarn Taran district.
Under fire after the crime, and the Akali party ruling the state was forced to expel Rana, while the Punjab government had to compensate Robinjit Kaur with the post of naib tehsildar. During the final hearing, the court complex and the ASI’s family were under heavy police security.
Cop’s kin for death sentence
The family of the murdered police officer is not content with the verdict. “We wanted death sentence for Ranjit Singh Rana,” said the ASI’s daughter, Robinjit Kaur, adding: “My family has gone through huge trauma. I will move to the higher court to seek death penalty for Rana.”
For own security, the family wants Rana transferred from the Amritsar jail, referring to his past attempt to escape. “We waited long for this day,” said the ASI’s widow, Paramjit Kaur, “but we are not satisfied.”
Satisfied by the judgment, public prosecutor RK Salwan said: “It is befitting punishment for a cold-blooded murder.” Replying to a question, he said: “I cannot say at this time whether we will move the higher court or not. We will first study the judgment.”
Convicts’ kin protest
The families of the convicts started protesting outside the court after the verdict, and alleged that the police had framed their wards. They blocked traffic outside for some time.
December 5, 2012 ASI Ravinderpal Singh murdered
December 6, 2012 Akali leader Ranjit Singh Rana arrested on murder charge
January 25, 2013 Charge sheet filed in court
January 1, 2014 Rana tries to escape from prison
August 8, 2014 Rana, four others held guilty, awarded life imprisonment