The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Jalandhar police commissioner to arrest Sukhdev Kalyan, alias Chiri, a local Shiromani Akali Dal leader who has been evading arrest since June last year, in the Arjun murder case.
The high court has fixed February 10 as the next date of hearing and also exempted the police commissioner Yurinder Singh Hayer from personal appearance in the court on his request.
On June 17 last year, Arjun and his friend Rahul were attacked with sharp-edged weapons outside the Naaz Cinema on Old GT Road in the city.
Both were rushed to the Jalandhar civil hospital where Arjun was declared brought dead while Rahul was shifted to a private hospital.
Rahul is one of the witnesses in the case besides Arjun’s brother Ashwani Kumar.
Hayer, who was present during the hearing in the case on Thursday, assured the bench headed by justice KC Puri that earnest efforts would be made to arrest the remaining accused.
On December 8, the high court had ordered the police commissioner to file a fresh status report in the case and asked him to remain present in the court on January 15.
Navkiran Singh, the counsel of the victim’s father Daulat Ram, said the court took a strong notice of police inaction and even told the police commissioner if he (police commissioner) cannot arrest the accused then “the army should be called to nab the accused”.
The counsel said the high court has also issued a notice to the state government over the family’s allegations that commissionerate police had not conducted any raid at Kalyan’s residence on January 7, when they informed them about the accused’s presence at his house.
Simsi Dhir, deputy advocate general (DAG), Punjab, who was present in the court, accepted the notice on behalf of the state government and sought time to file reply on this.
The petitioner, Daulat Ram, had submitted that the accused Sukhdev Kalyan was not arrested as he had good relations with deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.
On January 8, Arjun’s family received a threat letter purportedly from the Akali leader asking them to settle the case.
The letter, received by post and addressed to the victim’s kin Shashi Kumar who has been pursuing the case in the court, stated that he (Shashi) should not pursue the matter further.
It further said `2 lakh will be given to him (Shashi), refusing which he will be killed.
An FIR was lodged against the accused stating that Kalyan, his son Shiv, brother Suraj and five other accomplices, including one Sikander, attacked Arjun who told them to stop selling drugs to youngsters.
A case under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and section 34 (common intent in crime) of the Indian Penal Code was registered against Kalyan and three others at the police station-2.