The role of Jalandhar (rural) police has come under scanner after a head constable posted at the Kartarpur police station was found posted as a gunman “illegally” with a non-resident Indian (NRI), who is close to a former Akali minister of Jalandhar.
The head constable was accused of firing a gunshot at Kanti Mohan, sarpanch of Muthada Kalan village in Jalandhar district, in a land dispute case. Sources say the incident took place on April 19 and senior police officials tried to hush it up under pressure from Akali leaders. Preliminary probe confirmed that the gunman, identified as Manmohan Singh, was posted with the NRI at Kartarpur without official orders and at the behest of an Akali MLA’s son.
The gunman, who as per the first information report (FIR) lodged by the sarpanch at the Phillaur police station and was guarding the NRI, was accompanied by 12 persons. He fired two gunshots in the air in an inebriated state. A case was registered against two persons, including Deepak Sharma and Paramjit Singh Pamma (both panches of the same panchayat), and 21 others.
The sarpanch alleged that the accused came in three vehicles around midnight and dared him to come out of the house.
The 32 kanal land in dispute belongs to the panchayat that was earlier in the illegal possession of Sewa Ram, a resident of nearby Rurka Kalan village, but was handed over to the panchayat led by Kanti.
It was only after the sarpanch and other members of the panchayat complained to DIG, Jalandhar zone, Rajinder Singh that a special investigation team (SIT) headed by Hoshiarpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Kuldeep Singh was constituted to probe the case.
Sources told HT that the head constable had been named in the case.
Though the SIT is yet to start the probe, the Jalandhar DIG gave a clean chit to when contacted by HT. “We have verified facts. The head constable was at the spot but he was on a patrol duty,” said the DIG.
When asked why the SIT led by an SSP of other district had been formed, he said: “The complainant wanted the police to form the SIT.”
However, Phillaur station house officer Jatinderj Jeet Singh, who is investigating the case, said two persons had been arrested after interrogation. The head constable has been named in the case and the authorities have recommended his suspension.
“We have mobile phone locations of the head constable showing that he was present at the spot when gunshots were fired at Muthada Kalan villag,” said the SHO.
Sources said one day after the incident, the head constable got him admitted to a hospital to show that he was not involved in the crime.