The Patiala police are under the scanner for allegedly framing a migrant labourer to save the father of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) councillor Rajinder Singh Virk.
The case relates to the seizure of 10 cases of country-made liquor, originally recovered from Virk’s father Gian Singh. The police allegedly targeted Jawahar Lal, who was working as a farm labourer with Gian Singh.
Virk is said to be close to cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra. He had been accused of attacking then Aam Aadmi Party candidate (later elected MP) Dr Dharamvira Gandhi on polling day (April 30) during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
On September 3, the police had seized 10 cases of liquor from the residence of Gian Singh, who was arrested on the spot with the liquor which he had sold to a decoy customer. The police took Gian Singh to Sadar police station, where they clicked pictures of the accused with the liquor seized.
In the meantime, Akali leaders, including a cabinet minister, pressed the police to let off Gian Singh. And the police allegedly succumbed to pressure.
As the news of the liquor seizure reached the media, the police booked Jawahar Lal (from ‘back date’ of September 2) under Section 61 of the Punjab Excise Act. He was bailed out the next day.
Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Hardial Singh Mann said on September 4 that he had marked an inquiry to superintendent of police (SP) Prithpal Singh Thind to look into Gian Singh’s role.
However, no such inquiry was marked. “I have not conducted any inquiry as I never got any communication in this regard,” said Thind, whose role is also under scanner as the Sadar police station falls under his jurisdiction.
Pictures of Gian Singh in police custody also reached the SSP, but instead of taking action, he kept the matter under wraps.
When contacted, SSP Hardial Singh Mann said the “police cannot do much as the migrant labourer had confessed to his crime in court.”
“Yes, there were some lapses and I will look into the matter to nail erring officials,” he said. He also wrongly claimed that the police could not present a supplementary challan in the case. He also failed to explain why he didn’t mark an inquiry to the SP.
Sept 3: Police nab Gian Singh with liquor but, under pressure, release him and register FIR against his employee, labourer Jawahar Lal.
Sept 4: SSP says he has marked an inquiry to SP Prithpal S Thind, when asked by the media why the police framed a migrant labourer.
Sept 21: SSP says he is awaiting the inquiry report
Nov 11: Police present challan wherein Jawahar ‘confessed’.
Nov 27: SP says no inquiry marked to him.
Why was Gian Singh, owner of house from where the liquor cases were found, not booked?
Why was suspect Jawahar Lal granted bail in such haste?
Who bailed out Jawahar Lal, who is a native of Bihar and is living alone in Patiala?