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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Decks cleared for FIR against Namdhari

Prabhjit Singh, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, December 10, 2012
First Published: 19:15 IST(10/12/2012) | Last Updated: 12:11 IST(11/12/2012)

In what could be an eye-opener on the police-babu-criminal nexus, the Punjab government on Monday released a probe report revealing how Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, accused in the murder of Ponty Chadha and his brother at a Delhi farmhouse, procured and got renewed his arms licences on the basis of fake documents.

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Home secretary DS Bains, who submitted his report to deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal on Monday, said the FIR would be lodged on Tuesday, and the state would seek the custody of Namdhari from Delhi. 

Namdhari, actually a resident of Uttarakhand, not only procured an arms licence from Punjab's Rupnagar district in 1994, and got it renewed from Rupnagar and then SAS Nagar, but also got a passport from Jalandhar by producing fake address that was even 'verified' by the local police, confirms the report.

HOW HE GOT ARMS LICENCES
The report states that Namdhari applied for arms licence in Rupnagar on September 20, 1994 on the basis of a Kurali ration card, and the application was "forwarded to the SSP of Rupnagar the same day and further marked to SHO of Kurali also on the same day, which is quite uncommon…and depicts the use of some influence".

"Gross irregularities are apparent in the police verification report [for the arms licence], where ASI Gurcharan Singh recorded the statement of one Satpal of Kurali and verified the same on October 4, 1994, and then forwarded and recommended the file for licence to the SSP office himself in the capacity of SHO, Kurali," the report notes. Bains recommends arresting the since-retired ASI (assistant sub-inspector).

The report notes that besides Namdhari, four others, including his brother, got arms licences. "A complete investigation… is required…[as] a nexus could be established between all the five applicants who may not be the residents of Punjab and may be acting as henchmen of Sukhdev Singh [Namdhari] in Bazpur [Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand]," the report states.

CRIMINAL USE?
"Namdhari misused his weapon for seizing disputed property in Udham Singh Nagar [Uttarakhand]," the report says, citing a December 29, 2005 order of the Udham Singh Nagar district magistrate canceling his licence issued in Rupnagar. The order bore Namdhari's address as 'Talli Farm, Police Station, Bazpur', and he was stated to have handed over his .315-bore rifle to one Navtej Singh for taking illegal possession of a property. The weapon was impounded by police in Kashipur (Uttarakhand).

He procured a duplicate licence from the SAS Nagar district magistrate on May 5, 2007 by submitting another fake address of Mohali, the report says.

Also, he had got a duplicate licence from the district magistrate of Amritsar on March 22, 2001, and a new license with area validity of Punjab, Chandigarh, UP, Haryana and HP, also from Amritsar. "The district magistrate issued the duplicate copy without the original licence (issued in Rupnagar) being surrendered," the report states.

"The chain of events points out towards the criminal intentions of Namdhari in using duplicate licence books for some illegal motives which need to be unearthed at the investigation stage," the report recommends.

HOW HE GOT PASSPORT
As for the passport from Jalandhar, Namdhari used a ration card as his residence proof that has been found fake. Issued on February 15, 2006, the card bore the address of Janian village in Shahkot sub-division of Jalandhar. The inspector, food and civil supplies, Lohian Khas, Jalandhar, signed the card, and it was attested by Lehember Singh, a member of the Janian panchayat, who is still a resident of the village, the report says.

ASI Jarnail Singh of Lohian Khas issued the police verification report for the passport issued in May 2006. Namdhari concealed criminal cases pending against him in Uttarakhand while applying for the passport.

NEED TO FOLLOW RULES
The report says the prevalent practice in Punjab has been to carry out the [arms licence] renewal without police verification and inspection of weapons. This has resulted in the systemic failure, whereby the licencees are never asked to prove the existence of weapons and their antecedents with local addresses. "It is apparent…that DM of Ropar [Rupnagar] and SAS Nagar also did not carry out any police verification at the time of subsequent renewals [of Namdharis' licences]. The practice followed in Punjab is in violation of the Arms Act 1962."

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