The alleged custodial death of Surjeet Singh (70), a resident of Faridkot town, led to a protest by his relatives and locals on Saturday. Surjeet Singh was allegedly taken into custody by the city police in the morning because he was supposed to be sent to jail in an old case after the Punjab and Haryana high court upheld his conviction.
Sources said Surjeet Singh was arrested by the Faridkot police way back in May 25, 1986, and was charged with allegedly keeping 60 kg of opium in his possession. He was sentenced to 10 years in December 1987and was also fined for R1 lakh. He moved the high court against his conviction and was released on bail till the final decision on his appeal was taken, sources added.
After his appeal was dismissed and 27 years after registration of the case, the court upheld his conviction and issued warrants against him till June 14.
The victim allegedly remained elusive and police took his daughter Charnjeet Kaur into custody to pressurise him, sources said.
"The police raided our house about 7 am and the male police staff took me in custody," alleged Charnjeet Kaur. "The police also kept me in the men's cell and harassed me without any fault of mine," she further alleged.
"Surjeet Singh was arrested by the police at about 11 am and he died due to the alleged police torture at about 1 pm," the family alleged. His clothes also had blood stains and he died within two hours in the lockup, they claimed.
They alleged that the police beat up Surjeet Singh up in their custody, which led to his death.
The kin blocked traffic on the Sadak Road near Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot, demanding registration of a criminal case against the police officials responsible for his death.
SSP for judicial probe
Gurmeet Singh Randhawa, senior superintendent of police, Faridkot, said, "I have written to the district and sessions judge for a judicial inquiry into the alleged death of Surjeet Singh in police custody. I have also informed the human rights commission about the incident.
The post mortem would be conducted in GGS Medical College, Farikdot, and it would also be videographed. Nobody who is found guilty would be spared after the reports of judicial inquiry and post mortem come."
On the alleged detention of the daughter of the victim, the SSP said, "I have asked the family to file their complaint and I will look into the matter."
Though Surjeet Singh was shifted to GGS Medical College by the police, he allegedly died before reaching the hospital.