The Punjab Police’s failure to solve the 2011 murder of Namdhari leader Avtar Singh Tari despite the setting up of three SITs (special investigation teams) has drawn the ire of the Punjab and Haryana high court.
Seeing that the probe was heading nowhere, the high court bench of justice Rameshwar Singh Malik told the Punjab director general of police (DGP) that even after he was asked to monitor the case, sincere efforts were not being made by the special investigation team (SIT) to solve the case.
The court granted the final opportunity to the DGP to monitor the probe and ensure that the investigation was conducted “effectively and purposefully” to bring visible results.
“This court hopes and trusts that the director general of police, Punjab, will ensure that no further orders are required to be passed by this court for transferring the investigation to any other independent agency,” the HC bench said, directing the DGP to file an affidavit, while posting the matter for hearing on November 19.
Earlier, the affidavit filed by the director general of police stated that efforts were being made by the SIT to arrest the culprits.
However, the court pointed out that more earnest efforts were being made by the police earlier, not now.
“The hard fact which stares in the face is that not even one accused has been put under arrest so far. Under these circumstances, this court is constrained to observe that only lip service will not serve the purpose. The constitution of the SIT itself would be of no use until and unless the special investigation team is given specific directions to conduct effective and result-oriented investigation at an early date,” the high court bench observed.
April 12, 2011: Avtar Singh Tari, 57, a staunch follower of then Namdhari sect head Satguru Jagjit Singh, shot dead by two unidentified persons near Ludhiana
December 12, 2011: Tari’s son Gurmukh Singh approaches high court, seeking independent probe
July 26, 2013: Petitioner alleges involvement of Satguru Jagjit Singh’s nephew Thakur Dalip Singh; HC asks DGP to monitor the case
May 4, 2015: HC questions SIT report, says why the person (Thakur Dalip Singh) named in the FIR not arrested; state seeks last opportunity in the case; high court asks DGP to file his own affidavit
Aug 7, 2015: State seeks time, stating that investigations are in progress