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HindustanTimes Sun,24 Aug 2014

Pannu assault case: 12 days on, assaulters still free

Prabhjit Singh , Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, July 05, 2013
First Published: 23:52 IST(5/7/2013) | Last Updated: 09:05 IST(6/7/2013)

Twelve days after Punjab IAS officer Kahan Singh Pannu was thrashed and abused while on duty during the rescue operations in Uttarakhand, the culprits are still on the run.

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Uttarakhand Police, pre-occupied by the relief and rescue operations after natural calamity, have made no headway in the assault case registered on June 28. In a parallel move, Punjab Police have arrested three people, so far, but under the cyber crime law in the Information Technology (IT) Act over the recording of a video of the incident and its uploading on the Internet.

The other sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) in the case lodged by Punjab Police are about "hurting religious sentiments" merely, even when the 7-minute clip itself is an evidence of the assault. In it, the culprits (four Sikhs, including two baptised men and a clean-shaven guy, all Punjabi) can be identified clearly. They are thrashing and abusing Pannu, who is trying to pacify them but to no avail.

On Friday, deputy inspector general (cyber crime) Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh stated that Gursewak Singh, third man arrested from Patiala on Thursday, was "the main instigator behind the assault and the recording". However, the Mohali police in their cyber crime case did not add any section of the IPC that amounted to the physical attack on Pannu.

Punjab's IG (security) Sanjiv Kalra, who leads the special investigation team (SIT) looking into the episode, said nothing could be said on the arrest of the real attackers. "We'll come out with clarifications in a day or so," he said, when asked about the role of the three men arrested for cyber crime in the actual assault.

U'khand Police have no clue

Uttarakhand Police are clueless about the real culprits. It had registered the case against "unidentified people" under Sections 332 (hurting voluntarily to deter public servant from duty), 147 (rioting), 148 (armed rioting), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC on June 28 on Pannu's complaint forwarded by Punjab chief secretary Rakesh Singh.

The FIR was lodged at Chamoli near Gobind Ghat, where the incident had occurred. "We are on the job and in touch with Punjab Police," a senior official of Uttarakhand Police said on telephone from Chamoli. He also said the police in his state was still busy in the rescue and relief operations.

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