The conversion of a case, registered under section 304-A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on Tuesday at Smalsar police station, into a murder case on Wednesday, has sparked a controversy.
A 24-year-old Dalit labourer Hardeep Singh was killed after he was allegedly crushed under the wheels of a tractor at Lande village under Baghapurana subdivision on Tuesday.
Brother of the deceased Jaswinder Singh reported the matter to the police and the police registered a case under section 304-A against the driver of the tractor on his statement.
Pal Singh, sub-inspector of the Smalsar police, said that Jaswinder Singh had told the police on Tuesday that his brother Hardeep Singh was hired as a labourer by landlord Angrej Singh of Lande village and when Angrej Singh was driving the tractor, his brother, who was also sitting on the tractor, fell off it and died on the spot after he was crushed under the wheels of the tractor.
“On this statement of Jaswinder Singh, we registered a case against Angrej Singh under section 304-A,” said the police official.
However, on Wednesday, Jaswinder Singh, accompanied by some Dalit leaders, met senior superintendent of police Mukhwinder Singh Bullar and changed his earlier statement and alleged that his brother was deliberately pushed off the tractor and crushed under the tractor by Angrej Singh and demanded the registration of a murder case against the accused.
The police then converted the case and registered under section 302 (murder) on the basis of the changed statement.
In his changed statement, Jaswinder Singh told the SSP, “After closing my shop, I was returning to my home from Smalsar on Tuesday evening. I saw an injured man lying on the road and as I went to the site, I found that he was my brother Hardeep Singh. He was seriously injured. However, he told me that after finishing the work at the fields, Angrej Singh consumed liquor and he forced him (my brother) also to drink. Later, when Angrej Singh was driving the tractor and he was sitting on the tractor Angrej Singh deliberately pushed him off the tractor and ran the tractor over him. Then, I rushed Hardeep Singh to a nearby hospital, but the doctors declared him brought dead.”
Gurpiyar Singh, station house officer (SHO) of Smalsar police station, said that the deceased’s brother Jaswinder Singh had submitted a fresh complaint to the police alleging that his brother was murdered by the landlord due to personal enmity.
“A fresh case has been registered against Angrej Singh under section 302 of Indian Penal Code at Smalsar police station on the statement of the deceased’s brother. However, further investigation is underway at the moment,” said the police official.
Meanwhile, supporters of Angrej Singh alleged that the police have converted the case as a murder case under the pressure of Dalit leaders.
The body of the deceased was handed over to the family after the autopsy in the civil hospital in Moga.