The case pertaining to attack on Congress leader Raman Bahl by the alleged land mafia on Tuesday took a dramatic twist on Sunday after the Gurdaspur city police reportedly replaced the signed statement of the complainant (Bahl) and “omitted the name of prime accused” local MLA Gurbachan Singh Babbehali of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
Even as police had recorded Bahl’s statement at the civil hospital on Tuesday in presence of Gurdaspur superintendent of police (SP) Baljit Singh, BJP district vice-president Ashok Vaid, CPM (Punjab) leader Makhan Kohar and CPM’s Thakur Dhian Singh, a First Information Report (FIR) was lodged into the case on the statement of assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Palwinder Singh.
Bahl told Hindustan Times here on Sunday that in his statement to police, he had recorded that the accused who attacked him were deputed Babbehali.
“Instead of lodging an FIR on my statement,” said Bahl, “police registered a case on the statement of the ASI and omitted the name of Babbehali from the FIR.”
Bahl alleged that police had done it under Babbehali’s pressure in order to save him.
“I demand an action against the police officers concerned, who deliberately overlooked my signed complaint and registered the FIR based on the statement of the ASI,” said Bahl.
The FIR, which was registered on the statement of the ASI, states — Bahl was coming with his driver Tarsem Lal on a scooter when two people, Sukhdev Singh and Bikramjit Singh, both residents of Goht Khurd village, stopped them and attacked Bahl with an iron rod and a baseball bat leaving him with multiple injuries on his arm, shoulder and legs.
The FIR states that the attackers were backed by their 4-5 unidentified accomplices, who come in a white Bolero car and wanted to kidnap Bahl.
On the basis of the ASI’s statement, a case under sections 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon) and 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered against Sukhdev Singh and Bikramjit Singh and their unidentified accomplices at Gurdaspur city police station on June 2.
Bahl, however, claimed the attackers loudly spoke that they were Babbehali’s men and had come to finish him forever. Bahl claimed that he was attacked with an iron rod and a ‘datar’ (sickle), which police replaced with a baseball bat in the FIR.
Bahl said in his signed statement he had also cited the reason behind the attack that he was leading an all party (barring SAD) protest against the land mafia that had grabbed residential plots of over 30 people in Gopal Nagar locality in Gurdaspur under the patronisation of Babbehali.
Bahl said the existing FIR had been registered on the complaint of a police officer that could be withdrawn any moment and feared that he would be deprived of justice.
Meanwhile, Kohar told Hindustan Times that he was present when police had recorded Bahl’s statement and the existing FIR did not contain the information provided by Bahl.
Vaid also confirmed that Bahl’s signed statement, which he had given to police in his presence, had been replaced with a fresh complaint by a police officer.
Dhian Singh told HT here on Sunday that he was also present when Bahl had given his signed statement to police which, he claimed, was changed by police.
Bahl said, “After I recorded Babbehali’s name for attack on me in my signed statement to police, police officers pressurised me to withdraw Babbehali’s name from my statement, but I refused to bow down to their pressure.”
Police have arrested two accused Sukhdev Singh and Bikramjit Singh in this connection, while the third is at large.
Parties take serious note of cops’ move
Taking a serious note of the replacement of the FIR by police, local leaders of various political parties, except SAD, who on Sunday met at the residence of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader SS Kahlon here, decided to take the matter with at the state-level with leaders of their respective parties to seek immediate action against the erring police officers.
They also decided to intensify their stir against the grabbing of people’s plots. When contacted, Gurdaspur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Gurpreet Singh Toor told HT that police had taken a prompt action without any bias in connection with the attack on Bahl and matter was being further investigated. He, however, said Bahl’s statement was also a part of the FIR.