Powerful accused threatening witnesses, CBI had told police

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Apr 01, 2015 09:26 IST

“Influential and powerful accused such as Sarabjit Singh Raju (in charge of Fastway cable TV in Amritsar) are threatening and harassing the witnesses in the Amritsar sex scandal case,” the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) wrote to the Amritsar police in 2008.

“Protection and security may please be provided to these witnesses so that they are able to depose before the trial court in Patiala,” CBI joint director M Narayanan had on December 5, 2008, written to Kanwar Vijay Pratap Singh, who was then Amritsar’s senior superintendent of police (SSP). The CBI letter also said false cases were being registered against the witnesses and many complaints were pending with the police.

Producing the letter at a press conference here on Tuesday, Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira said it was evidence that victimisation had forced (Amritsar cable operator) Jaswinder Singh Jassi to commit suicide. Jassi was witness in the 2003 sex scandal case, and had requested the court to record his statement afresh, since it had been “submitted under threat”.

“Fastway is a benami company of Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. It has monopoly over cable television business in the state, and its managing director, Gurdeep Singh Jhujhar, is a front man of Sukhbir. While the police gave no security to the witnesses, they extended it to the main accused, Raju and his associate (Akali leader) Pritpal Singh Palli. It is classic case of the misuse of police to intimidate witnesses and shelter the culprits,” said Khaira.

He said Fastway had hijacked the entire cable TV network in Punjab under political patronage; and rival channels such as Day and Night News and ABP Sanjha had to shut shop. “Could Fastway grow so fast without political backing? The court should take suo-motu notice of the suicide and order a time-bound inquiry by the CBI,” said the Congress leader.

‘Drug case false’

On the recent allegations of his links with an arrested drug dealer, he said the government was only trying to thwart the attack on Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia. “Last year, they tried to malign (Gidderbaha) Congress legislator (Amrinder Singh) Raja Warring; and this year, it’s me. But I did not succumb to their pressure. No special investigation team has been formed to look into the allegations after I said I was ready to face probe. The entire case was just a fraud. This is how the politicised Punjab Police try to intimidate those who speak against the government,” he added.

Security should’vebeen no issue: ADGP

Additional director general of police (law and order, and security) Dinkar Gupta said, generally, Punjab Police would not have refused security to witness Jaswinder Singh Jassi, if the request had come from a premier investigating agency such as the CBI. “Punjab Police had nothing against Jassi to deny him security. The issue was never brought to my notice in more than two years and six months on this post. If the CBI had communicated with us indeed, I’d look into it,” said Gupta.

He was responding to the charges that Khaira had leveled at his press conference. Jalandhar range deputy inspector general (DIG), Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, who was SSP of Amritsar in 2008, said proper action had followed on the CBI communication. “I had called all 36 witnesses in the sex scandal case and assured them full protection. I told them that to report any threat or pressure. I told all station house officers to look after the security of the witnesses,” said the DIG adding, that he as Amritsar’s SP had registered the case against Raju and others and arrested them. “I don’t know what happened after I was transferred out in 2009,” he said.

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