Assault on tehsildar: MLA Simarjit Bains charged with attempt to murder
Victim, who is now a district revenue officer, had alleged he was attacked for exposing fake stamp paper scam during then Akali regimepunjab Updated: Jun 07, 2017 22:47 IST
A local court on Wednesday charged Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) president and state legislator from Atam Nagar Simarjit Singh Bains, Congress leader Kamaljit Singh Karwal and their aides with attempt to murder in an eight-year-old case of assault on a tehsildar.
Bains and Karwal, then members of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), along with around 40 supporters had attacked the then local tehsildar Major Gurjinder Singh Benipal (retired) at his office on June 19, 2009. Besides assaulting him with knives, iron rods and hockey sticks and tearing his clothes, the accused had also snatched his licensed revolver before fleeing. Three days after the registration of an FIR, Bains’ name was included in it and he was also arrested.
Benipal, who is now a district revenue officer, had alleged that he was attacked for exposing the fake stamp paper scam during the then Akali regime.
Benipal’s counsel Hardial Singh said the court dismissed the accused’s application, seeking dismissal of the case registered against them, and ordered framing of the charges.
The court has framed charges against Bains and others under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) besides Section 27 of the Arms Act.
At the time of the incident, Bains and Karwal were close aides in the SAD, but later parted ways as Karwal joined the Congress. Bains, too, left the Akali Dal before being elected to the assembly as an independent. His Lok Insaaf Party fought the recent elections in coalition with the Aam Aadmi Party this year. Pitted against Karwal, he won the Atam Nagar seat.
Congress leader Ishwarjot Singh Cheema, meanwhile, demanded Bains’ resignation on moral grounds. He also asked AAP to clear its stand on the issue. The next date of hearing is on July 4.
8 years of probes and petitions
Ever since the murderous attack on Benipal, the case has been marred by petitions, with Bains even going to the Supreme Court to claim his innocence.
A special investigation team (SIT) of Punjab Police had investigated the matter and filed a report against Bains. Later, a second SIT was formed that gave its report in favour of Bains. Benipal then moved the Punjab and Haryana high court that ordered a trial on the basis of the first SIT report.
Bains moved the apex court, seeking inquiry by an independent agency. The SC had then stayed the trial and ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the case in August 2014.
Benipal had maintained that he became a victim of the brutal attack in his office and paid a heavy price of being stripped in public due to his zeal to expose the corrupt and maintain honesty and integrity in the profession.