Inspector general (IG) Harpreet Sidhu has deposed as a prime prosecution witness in the vigilance bureau (VB) fake trap case that led to the suicide of excise and taxation officer (ETO) Ranjit Singh in 2011.
Sidhu, an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Punjab cadre, is presently on deputation with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
Sidhu appeared as a witness and submitted his testimony at the district court on Wednesday. His cross-examination has been fixed for December 23.
Sidhu, along with senior IAS officer Manasvi Kumar, had conducted an inquiry into the ETO’s suicide. The latter was arrested on bribery charges by a VB team led by superintendent of police (SP) Amandeep Kaur in March 2011. Soon after his release on bail, Ranjit Singh had poisoned himself to death.
The probe report had revealed how the SP, then posted at the Ludhiana VB office, had fraudulently trapped the ETO with the help of the other accused traders Rajinder and Rajiv Sood, head constable Harminder Singh and one Paramjit Singh.
The district court had framed charges of abetment to suicide against the SP in May 2014.
All accused were booked on “prima facie sufficient evidence” under sections 306 (abetment to suicide), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) pertaining to criminal intimidation, forgery and framing of false evidence, and sections 7 (taking illegal gratification), 8 and 13(2) (criminal misconduct) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The SP, still under suspension, had surrendered in the court on January 15, 2013. The SAS Nagar police had lodged the FIR against the main accused in July 2012 after getting directions from the court. The ETO’s widow, Manjit Kaur, has been fighting a legal battle for justice.
March 29, 2011: SP Amandeep Kaur arrests ETO Ranjit Singh on charge of bribery after laying a trap
April 22: ETO commits suicide after his release on bail
July 9: Inquiry panel indicts SP, others
Jan 2-8, 2013: Accused Paramjit Singh, Rajiv Sood arrested
Jan 9: SP declared proclaimed offender
Jan 15: SP surrenders in court
Mar 26: Court grants bail to accused
Sept 4: FIR in fake trap case against ETO cancelled
May 28, 2014: Charges framed against SP, others