The mystery of two deaths in the January-22 car fire incident near Manawala village on the national highway-1 here is reported to be solved.
The Chevrolet Beat's catching fire and burning to death its occupants on their journey to Chandigarh was no accident but a staged-managed murder for claiming crores of rupees of insurance by fraud. The conspirators killed two poor labourers to show self as dead to the insurance company.
After more than a month of investigation, the police have arrested four people under Sections 302 (murder), 364 (kidnapping for murder), 420 (cheating), 426 (punishment for mischief), 115 (abetting crime punishable with death or life imprisonment), 120-B (punishment for criminal conspiracy) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence or submitting false statement) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in the case lodged at Chhatiwind. The accused are on the run.
Besides superintendent of police (detective) Rajeshwar Singh Sidhu and his team of the crime investigation agency (CIA) staff, the credit of solving this case is due also to Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) and its secretary, Sarabjit Singh Verka, who brought out the conspiracy angle.
Superintendent of police (D) Sidhu told reporters here on Sunday that on January 22, Jasbir Kaur of Rana Garden Colony in the Maqboolpura area had reported the death of her husband, Surinder Singh, and co-passenger Sahib Singh of Mahal village in the car fire near Manawala. The police initiated legal proceedings and closed the case.
Later, it came out to be a double murder to claim insurance money in the name of Surinder Singh and Sahib Singh. Police claim to have found Surinder's family and relatives to be co-conspirators. "The two labourers were kidnapped and forced to drink liquor before being strangulated and taken to Manawala to be set ablaze with the car," said the SP, adding that in the murder, Surinder had a major role.
Surinder Singh, who had many insurance policies, had also helped Sahib Singh get similar deals from many companies, although he belonged to a poor family and had never been insured before. Surinder is reported to be notorious for fake identities.
The CIA found that he had paid premium on behalf of Sahib Singh and got him insured for `1 crore. The signatures of Sunanda, Sahib's wife, on the nomination forms, policy papers and claims were fake.
Surinder had insured self for `2 crore and also bought accident cover for his Chevrolet Beat car (which he had plotted to burn). When Surinder and Sahib disappeared, their wives filed insurance claims. Surinder's wife, Jasbir Kaur, and their elder son, Sulkhan Singh, and his wife, Sarabjit Kaur, are among the accused.
Surinder's two other sons, Mukhtiar Singh and Sukhwant Singh, who are in Australia; and some their friends Nishan Singh, Avtar Singh, and Ranjit Singh are also said to be involved.
Accused Sahib Singh, Jasbir Singh, Sulkhan Singh, and Sarabjit Kaur are under arrest. The police are yet to identify the two labourers killed in the incident.