The bodies of four Chandigarh-based men, who were missing since January, were fished out of the Sirhind Canal near Doraha, about 25 km from Ludhiana on Thursday.
They have been identified as Pawan Sharma, 50, a resident of Sector 27, Chandigarh, his nephew Jayant Rishi, 24 and latter’s friends --- Prabhjot Singh, 26, and Ram Chaudhary.
The highly-decomposed bodies were stuck in a car that was taken out with the help of cranes. The families were informed and they have identified the bodies, said police.
The bodies have been sent to the Rajindra Hospital in Patiala for autopsy.
Khanna senior superintendent of police(SSP) Satinder Singh said prima facie it appears to be a case of road mishap. The bridge over canal was under construction in January. It’s possible that due to dense fog, they mistakenly drove over the incomplete bridge and their car fell into the canal.
The SSP, however, said police have not ruled out foul play and are looking into all angles.
The car was located on Wednesday by a crane operator working on the site of a new bridge being constructed on the canal, police said.
Trader Pawan Sharma had gone missing along with his nephew and others on way to Chandigarh from Ludhiana on January 14.
The four had come to Ludhiana to meet cops at Basti Jodhewal police station in connection with arrest of their two acquaintances, Rampal and Pramod. They left the police station the same day.
After visiting his friend Shehbaz at Model Town, Pawan and his aides left for Chandigarh in their Maruti Ertiga car. Shahbaz told police that they had food and drinks together and he had accompanied them to the Canal Bridge on Gill road and then returned.
Pawan’s brother Vijay Sharma said when the four failed to return to Chandigarh, they contacted the Ludhiana police. Their mobile phones were found to be switched off and their last location was traced to Doraha.
Khanna police had initiated investigation into the case and tried to trace the missing men. The cops had even searched the Sirhind Canal at that time, but to no avail.
Later, the family had approached deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and other senior officials suspecting that someone had kidnapped their kin.