Former director general of police (DGP) Rajinder Singh and inspector general (IG) Paramraj Singh Umranangal were among seven people held guilty by a local court here on Friday for registering a false rape case against Kirpal Singh Randhawa, a witness in the infamous murder case of human rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra.
The court of civil judge Sukhwinder Singh directed all the seven accused to pay Rs 49 lakh to Randhawa as compensation.
Besides ex-DGP Rajinder (the then IG, Patiala range) and IG Umaranagal (the then SSP, Patiala), the others held guilty by the court in the false rape case are Sarabjit Singh Cheema and Jaipal Singh, both sub-inspectors, the then SHO inspector Shamsher Singh Guddu, complainant Gurmeet Kaur and witness Parveen Komal.
The court directed the seven accused to pay a compensation of Rs 7 lakh each to the plaintiff within two months for causing “mental tension, torture, agony, harassment and irreparable loss at the hands of defendants on account of registration of the false rape case”.
In 2003, the police had registered a rape case against Randhawa, who was a key witness in Khalra murder case, after he came to Patiala to depose in the CBI court. This was allegedly done to discourage him from appearing in the court where some cops were facing trial for abducting and murdering Khalra.
In Khalra murder case, the CBI court later convicted former Taran Taran SSP Ajit Singh Sandhu (who later died), DSP Jaspal Singh, inspector Surinder Pal Singh and Satnam Singh and awarded life sentence to them. The court had relied on the statement of Randhawa, apart from other witnesses.
After the rape case fell flat in 2007, and an appeal was dismissed in the Punjab and Haryana high court in 2008, Randhawa filed a civil suit for damages against the responsible police officials and the complainant in the case.
The court observed that it had been established that Randhawa was an eyewitness in the Khalra murder case and was pressured by the accused not to appear as a witness in the court. The lodging of a rape case against him, presentation of the challan in the case within 10 days, providing a gunman to the complainant by the IG (Rajinder Singh) without (receiving) any application collectively established the malice on the part of all the defendants, the court added.
“It is very normal and prevalent that under the garb of investigation and inquiry, the police act beyond their power and jurisdiction for their vested interests and to please their superiors...a web (is) made in such a manner that it becomes almost impossible to unearth their illegal acts”, the court observed.