In a startling revelation, Tarn Taran assault victim Harbarinder Kaur on Tuesday presented audio conversations that purportedly took place between a Tarn Taran police sub-inspector (SI) Gurmeet Singh and her cousin and main witness Jagjit Singh to depict attempts by the cops to turn him "tactically" hostile before the inquiry officer in lieu of Rs. 20 lakh in cash and a job in police.
The audio conversation revealed that Gurmeet offered Jagjit, who video-graphed the cops thrashing Harbarinder outside the marriage palace three months ago, a job in Punjab Police if he "engineered" a compromise with Harbarinder and family.
The 40-minute conversation in two parts took place at Gurmeet's official residence in Tarn Taran police lines around a month ago. "You should give a statement before Jalandhar divisional commissioner SR Ladhar that the police actually intervened to stop a fight in the family outside the marriage palace and in the melee it appeared as if the cops were manhandling the girl," Gurmeet was heard advising Jagjit in the audio recording.
The conversation also revealed that Gurmeet asked Jagjit also to make the same statement before the inspector general and director general of police. "This will fetch you a constable's job," Gurmeet had said. When Jagjit said his height and age did not make him fit for a constable's job, Gurmeet assured him that everything would be taken care of.
"I have 12 audio conversations to prove that Gurmeet offered me Rs. 20 lakh in cash and a government job to turn hostile before the inquiry officer. He even told me that he could verify from the inquiry officer whether I had changed my statement," Jagjit said, adding that he dared expose the cops as the court had provided him with adequate security cover.
Meanwhile, Harbarinder alleged that the inquiry conducted by Ladhar was a sham. "Ladhar refused to supply a copy of the report to me, despite requests. This clearly shows his dismal conduct. He has connived with the accused. The inquiry should be got conducted from outside the state," she demanded.
Punjab Mahila Congress vice-president Nimisha Mehta, who is supporting Harbarinder's cause, demanded that Gurmeet be dismissed from service for influencing the witnesses.
SI Gurmeet Singh has been suspended with immediate effect for misconduct.
Within an hour of HT queries on Gurmeet's suspicious role, Tarn Taran SSP Rajjit Singh conducted a preliminary inquiry.
The SSP said, "SI Gurmeet Singh has confessed to having approached Jagjit for a compromise at the behest of then city SHO Sukhbir Singh, who was already under suspension for dereliction in duty in the case.
Sukhbir wanted to be reinstated in case the witnesses agreed to turn hostile. I am placing Gurmeet under suspension with immediate effect for a grave misconduct. Besides, departmental inquiry against Gurmeet and Sukhbir will be conducted by SP (traffic) Ranbir Singh. The report will be submitted in three weeks. Stern action will be taken against the cops found guilty in the departmental inquiry."