A twist has come into the murder case of Punjab-born UK hotelier Ranjit Singh Power (54), as his family has claimed that the body that the Jalandhar police sent to Britain is not his.
An email about the body report came to the police from British High Commission through the Indian embassy in the UK. Dismissing the report as inadmissible, the local police have again asked Power’s mother to submit a blood sample for DNA testing. In a Facebook conversation, the hotelier’s daughter, Emma Power, claimed that her father’s body had not been found yet; and the DNA and dental examinations in the UK had proved that.
She said an agency in Britain was trying to find out whose body it was. “The Jalandhar police have committed a blunder by sending us the wrong body when my father is still untraced,” said Emma.
Claiming that the UK report refers to matching Power’s toothbrush with the dead man’s teeth, the police have asked if this is admissible as legal evidence in India. “The report says Ranjit was under dental treatment in the UK, and the specifications of his jaw did not match with the jaw on the body we had sent to Britain,” said deputy commissioner of police Sandeep Kumar Sharma. Additional deputy commissioner of police-2 Amrik Singh said the report was not admissible under the Indian law and the police had written to the hotelier’s mother to seek her blood sample for a DNA test.
On June 6, the police handed over the body to hotelier’s British NRI (non-resident Indian) friend Darshan Singh, who has roots in Jalandhar. The body had remained in India for weeks before it was shipped to Power’s hometown, Wolverhampton in the UK, for cremation. On June 1, Darshan had identified it from a steel bracelet on one of the arms. Police divers had fished out the partially decomposed body from an Ambala canal.
On May 18, the hotelier’s brother, Amrik, had told the police that Ranjit had gone to Punjab for a business deal with his British NRI friend Baldev Singh Deol, who is from Shekhewal village originally. Ranjit was to return to the UK on May 14. He didn’t make it back but Deol did on May 15. On Amrik’s complaint, a case against Deol was registered here under Section 365 (kidnapping with the intent to confine) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The call details of Deol, who had arrived in India on February 13, led a special investigation team (SIT) of the police to Deol’s distant nephew, Sukhdev Singh of Manikpur village near Shahkot; and it came out that a week before the hotelier had arrived in Amritsar on May 8, Deol and Sukhdev had plotted to kill him.
On May 8, the two accused had reached the Amritsar airport at 3.30pm to pick up Power in a Toyota Innova car and take him to the Golden Temple. After buying liquor, they started from Amritsar at 6pm and reached Nakkia village near Anandpur Sahib around 11pm, where they made the hotelier drink so much that it knocked him out. They allegedly put a polyethene bag over his face and strangulated him with a rope. Later, the body was stripped and thrown into the Bhakra canal along with the NRI’s clothes.