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HindustanTimes Wed,27 Aug 2014

SAD leader’s name crops up behind encounter

Surinder Maan, Hindustan Times  Moga, June 28, 2014
First Published: 23:06 IST(28/6/2014) | Last Updated: 09:16 IST(29/6/2014)

The Moga shootout case took a new turn on Saturday as the name a top Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader came up. Two accused admitted to the civil hospital here have alleged that SAD’s Gursewak Singh Gholia, chairman of the Baghapurana block samiti, was present at the encounter site along with the cops from Chandigarh.

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Gholia is a cousin of Chandigarh crime branch inspector Ranjodh Singh who had led the team to Moga for nabbing Rinku and Khuswinder in an assault case registered in Chandigarh. This team had got into the encounter on Moga’s outskirts and killed gangster Sukhdev Singh and his aide Indepreet Singh ‘Gora’. There have been questions over the veracity of the police theory that the gangsters had fired first and then died in retaliatory fire. A probe is on.

Meanwhile, Gurcharan Singh alias Rinku and Khushwinder Singh alias Sukhpal have named Gholia.

But Gholia termed the allegation of his involvement as a ploy by his political rivals to defame him. “No doubt, Ranjodh Singh is my cousin and he is also doing his job in Chandigarh police. How can I leave that relationship? But it is also true that I had good relations with Sukhdev Singh, and I have no connection with the encounter,” he said.

Accused Rinku and Khushwinder who are admitted to the Moga civil hospital under heavy police protection — not formally arrested yet — had said that after the firing, as they were ducking in their Lancer car at the shootout site, Gholia came with Ranjodh and took away their car keys. After that, the police took the Rinku and Khushwinder to the hospital where they are admitted with relatively minor injuries.

When asked about it, Moga superintendent of police (SP) HS Pannu said, “The inquiry by the sub-divisional magistrate is underway, so I cannot say anything. [Gholia’s alleged role] will be discussed after the probe is complete. Statements of Rinku and Khushwinder hold little value as of now.”

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