The Punjab and Haryana high court has stayed proceedings in a Rajpura court over a challan filed in the 2010 death of two Thapar University students — Gagandeep Bains and Gaurav Verma — recently. The challan was filed in August.
According to initial or prima facie Patiala police investigation, Gagandeep Singh Bains, an MBA student of Thapar University and his friend Gaurav Verma, were killed when their SUV rammed a stationary truck on the night of September 27, 2010, near Liberty Chowk in Rajpura. Two of their friends, Zorawar Singh and Jaskaran Singh — also in the car — suffered injuries.
However, police investigation into the case has run into controversy.
There have been several twists and turns in the case with a number of separate police investigations coming out with conflicting findings and reports. The results have ranged from the incident that killed the two students being labeled as an accident to it being classified as murder.
Now, till last month, the Rajpura court was hearing the case based on the police challan — prepared by SP (detective) Patiala — that said that the deaths of September 27, 2010, were accident and not murders. This was even as a murder case was also registered, previously.
The high court decision of putting a stay on the proceedings came after Gurbax Singh Bains, the father of one of the victims, Gagandeep Bains, filed a contempt of court petition in the case, claiming that the probe had not been conducted by an independent agency, in spite of orders from the Supreme Court.
On this petition of the father, the HC has stayed proceedings in the local court so that charges are not framed.
Murder or accident?
Police have conducted multiple investigations, but the department has failed to stick to one voice.
In 2010, the police declared it a road accident.
After the father of one of the young men, questioned the police investigation and the finding, the then DIG Kuwar Vijay Partap conducted another investigation and ruled out accident and concluded that it was a clear case of murder. The DGP’s report named one of the vicitms’ friends and a co-passenger that day Zorawar Singh.
Zorawar moved the Supreme Court against the DGP’s report. The apex court dismissed the plea and recommendation the registration of a murder case. The SC also directed the police to conduct an independent probe by the an SP-rank officer.
On these directions, Patiala Police SP (detective) Jaskaran Singh Teja registered an FIR for murder under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC and launched another investigation, the third in the case.
Teja declared it an accident, stating that the no substantial evidence had been found to prove murder and filed this challan of accident before a Rajpura court.
When contacted, Patiala SSP Gurmeet Singh Chauhan said, “The police conducted a thorough investigation and has found no substantial evidence to consider it a murder case. The challan was thus filed following this line.”
1.September 27, 2010, Gagandeep Singh Bains and his friend Gaurav Verma killed, ostensibly in a road accident
2.Gurbax Singh Bains, father of the victim Gagandeep, complains to the then DGP RS Gill that his son was murdered.
3.February 21 Gurbaksh Bains moves the high court.
4.February 27 The then principal secretary (home) DS Bains asks DIG (crime) to inquire into the matter.
5.December 21 Police submit in court that the inquiry had been concluded; the HC recommends that a murder case be filed.
6.March 1, 2012- The new DGP files new SIT. Its investigation contradicts the DIG’s report. SIT submits its findings, claiming the murder theory was baseless.
7.March 2014 HC directs state to register a murder case; Zorawar files Special Leave Petition in the SC.
8.December 24 SC dismisses the plea of Zorawar Singh, a co-passenger and fellow student, and recommends the registration of a murder case
9.August 6 Gurbax Singh Bains, the father of one the victims files a contempt petition in the HC, claiming that the investigation was still not being conducted in an independent manner
10.August 31 Patiala police files challan in a Rajpura court under accident charges.
11.21 October HC stays the proceedings in Rajpura court.
12.December 1 Case to come up for hearing before the HC