Conflicting statements of Jaitu SHO and Faridkot SSP with regard to an ‘encounter’ on Jeeda-Dabrikhana road on Wednesday night, in which one Ajmer Singh ‘Jimmy’, 24, was shot dead, may aggravate the problems for the police.
That the rules were violated by the police is evident from statement of Jaitu SHO Lachhman Singh, who has accepted that the police party was travelling in the vehicle of a liquor firm at the time of the encounter. Interestingly, Faridkot SSP Sukhmandar Singh was of the view that this needed to be verified through investigation. Also, even as the SHO in Friday accepted that one person was accompanying Jimmy when the ‘encounter’ took place, but the SSP was ignorant of the fact till Friday—36 hours after the action.
As per the records of Bathinda’s district transport office, the jeep (PB 03 AJ 3718) in which the police party was travelling at the time of the ‘encounter’ belongs to Bathinda-based liquor firm ABS Wines Private Limited, house number 52, Housfed Colony. The SHO said that they were using liquor firm’s vehicle as the official vehicle had gone for repairs. He said that “police hire liquor firm’s vehicle whenever they need”. Ignorant of the fact, the SSP said this was to be inquired whether the vehicle used by cops belonged to the liquor firm or not. However, the SSP didn’t order a separate inquiry in this regard, saying it will be part of the investigations into the attempt-to-murder case registered against unidentified people on the statement of cops.
The SHO told this correspondent that a man was in Jimmy’s car, but he ran away. Mandeep Singh of Muktsar told the media that he was accompanying Jimmy, but ran for his life when the police opened fire. The SSP was unaware of this until this reporter flagged the issue with him. The SSP said he’d look into this as well.
Jimmy’s body was handed over to family after the post-mortem on Friday. It is learnt that police made the family receive the body in lieu of promise to release four people, who had taken Jimmy to the hospital. The four according to police were detained at Bathinda Civil Hospital on Wednesday night and handed over to Faridkot police. The Faridkot SSP, however, denied having anybody in their custody.
Faridkot deputy commissioner MS Jaggi said Jaitu sub-divisional magistrate Narinder Singh has been entrusted with the inquiry into the ‘encounter’. The SDM couldn’t be contacted despite repeated attempts.
Jimmy of Thandewala village in Muktsar district was shot dead by the Faridkot police when he was returning from the house of his in-laws in Jeeda village in Bathinda district. Police claimed that Jimmy had opened fire and police retaliated in self defence.
Jimmy’s family had alleged he was killed on the directions of an influential liquor trader. The use of liquor firm’s vehicle by the police party has given potency to their allegation.