A local court on Monday issued non-bailable warrants against former Amritsar SSP Kultar Singh and DSP Hardev Singh in the mass suicide case of 2004 that had shocked the city.
Chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Ranjit Kaur issued the warrants during the resumed hearing of a case filed by Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) secretary Sarabjit Singh on April 24, 2009 against Kultar Singh, who was the SSP of Amritsar when the mass suicide took place.
The court after hearing the counsel for Sarabjit, issued non-bailable warrants under sections 306, 420, 467, 468, 471 of the IPC and 7/13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and directed the two to appear before the court by November 12.
While Kultar Singh retired from the police a couple of years ago after attaining the rank of the DIG, Hardev Singh is currently posted as the DSP, Zira, in Ferozepur district. Hardev Singh was the SHO of C division police station under whose jurisdiction the mass suicide took place.
The PHRO activist, in his petition, on the basis of the suicide notes recovered after the crime, had contended that Kultar Singh was responsible for forcing the family to commit suicide. While on the other hand, Hardev Singh was charged with tampering and destroying evidence to save his senior.
On the intervening night of October 30-31, 2004, Hardip Singh of Chowk Karori in the walled city, along with his wife, mother and two children, allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison. Before taking the step, the family had written the reason for committing suicide on the walls of the rooms of their house and had even posted suicide notes to their friends and acquaintances.
On the basis of these notes, the police had registered a case of abetment to suicide against four relatives of Hardip Singh and arrested them. These were Mohinder Singh, Sabrine Kaur, Kulwinder Pal Singh and Parminder Singh. All four are currently out of bail.
Taking note of references to Kultar Singh in the suicide notes and the allegations that he was responsible for the family taking the extreme step, the PHRO, on the basis of evidences, demanded an impartial inquiry.
The government appointed IGP (now ADGP) Jasminder Singh as the inquiry officer and he was asked to submit his report in two months. But the inquiry dragged on and was shifted to another officer, IGP (now ADGP) Hardip Dhillon in 2007.
Taking note of the slow progress of the inquiry, Sarabjit Singh on April 24, 2009 filed a petition, contending that there was a great deal of pressure on the inquiry officers and that the court should take cognisance of the matter on the basis of the evidence that was available in the form of the suicide notes and eyewitnesses. Besides against Kultar and Hardev, the petitioner also sought action against Manmohan Singh and Jaswinder Singh, relatives of Kultar, for their role in the case.
Acting on the petition, the court on November 11, 2009, issued summons to all four besides IGP Jasminder Singh. While the IGP, Manmohan and Jaswinder recorded their evidence in the court, Kultar and Hardev did not appear. During the course of the hearings in the local court, Manmohan and Jaswinder got pre-arrest bail from the Punjab and Haryana high court. But the two police officers despite serving in the same department repeatedly "avoided service of summons" by the court and did not appear to this date.
Taking note of the failure of the two to appear in the court, the CJM finally issued the non-bailable warrants.
The high court, which is seized of the matter, has already passed an order that both the 'state case' and 'complainant's case' (case by Sarabjit) will be decided together and by the same court. The four relatives of the deceased's family who are on bail are named in the 'state case'.