Two owners of a liquor shop and their three aides allegedly beat up a retired army man to death at Thathi Bhai village in Smalsar near here on Thursday night, reportedly after the victim objected to liquor being overpriced. Five people have been booked for murder.
The deceased, Beant Singh, 35, of Chida village in Smalsar town of Moga, who had retired as havildar from the army a year ago, had gone to the Thathi Bhai village to buy liquor from the vend owned by Sunny Gill and his partner Harjinder Singh. The liquor shop had been sealed by the excise department recently over non-renewal of licence, still the contractors had been doing brisk business, it is learnt. The contractors’ men were selling liquor at exorbitant rates from a vehicle parked outside the shop.
Smalsar police have booked contractors Sunny Gill, Harjinder Singh, and their aides Sant Ram, Jagdeep Singh alias Giani of Moga, Jeet Singh of Smalsar, for murder. Gill is said to be close to some Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders and he has liquor business interests in Moga, Ludhiana and Sangrur. He reportedly also has shares in the Fastway cable network company in Moga district.
“Beant had insisted on paying the market rate for the liquor he wanted to buy, which the accused didn’t agree, leading to a scuffle. At the behest of Harjinder and Sunny, their workers beat up Beant to death using sticks,” said Jaswant Singh, a cousin of the victim.
Smalsar station house officer (SHO) Bhupinder Singh said all the accused were absconding and police teams were raiding their possible hideouts.
Meanwhile, a case has been registered under Sections 302 (murder) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).