A former station house officer (SHO) of the Morinda police, Balkar Singh, was on Friday declared a proclaimed offender (PO) by a court in Rupnagar in a 22-year-old case of alleged abduction of a youth who was later reported killed in an encounter.
The youth, Kuldeep Singh of village Amrali, was allegedly picked up by the police from Krishna Mandi in Morinda on October 24, 1990. Kuldeep's father Ajaib Singh made unsuccessful efforts to trace his son; but the police denied having him in their custody. Then, after a newspaper report in May 1991 quoted the then Patiala SSP SK Sharma as saying that Kuldeep was killed in an encounter in Barnala, Ajaib approached the authorities again for justice, but to no avail.
Finally, in 1998, on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court, a case was registered against the then Patiala SSP SK Sharma, then Rupnagar SP(D) SPS Basra, then Morinda SHO Balkar Singh and then ASI Gurcharan Singh under sections 364 (kidnap) and 34 (criminal act by several persons) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The hearing of the case was going on in the court of the Rupnagar additional chief judicial magistrate, Pushpinder Singh, who declared Balkar a PO after he continued to avoid court proceedings. The other three accused - SK Sharma is now ADGP, SPS Basra is DIG and ASI Gurcharan Singh has retired -- appeared in person before the magistrate, who has committed the case to the sessions court.