The sessions court in Rupnagar on Saturday acquitted former Punjab director general of police SK Sharma and three other cops in a 25-year-old fake encounter case.
Sessions judge BS Sandhu gave benefit of doubt to the four accused, including then Morinda station house officer Balkar Singh, ex-deputy inspector general SPS Basra and former assistant sub-inspector Gurcharan Singh.
Amrali village resident Ajaib Singh had alleged that his son Kuldeep Singh was picked up by police on October 24, 1990, from Krishna Mandi area in Morinda.
On May 15, 1991, Ajaib Singh read a report in a newspaper wherein then Patiala senior superintendent of police (SSP) SK Sharma claimed that Kuldeep was killed in an encounter at Tholiwal village under the Barnala police station on May 1. The SSP also said Kuldeep was wanted in many extortion, robbery and dacoity cases.
After a long legal battle, charges were framed against the accused under section 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder), 302 (murder),201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) and 120-B(criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code(IPC) on June 3,2014.
After the acquittal, Kuldeep’s relatives created a scene inside the courtroom and later raised slogans.
Ajaib said great injustice had been done to them, adding that they would appeal against the judgment in the high court. He also demanded a judicial inquiry into the case.
Kuldeep’s cousin Satwinder Pal Singh said the police had given in writing to the human rights commission and United Nation agencies that Kuldeep was not wanted by them in any case. The acquittal is shocking, he added.
SK Sharma’s counsel Harmohan Singh Paul said no case was made out against his client, who was falsely implicated in the case. He said there was no evidence against Sharma.
Oct 24, 1990: Rupnagar resident Kuldeep Singh kidnapped by unidentified persons from Morinda.
May 15, 1991:.Kuldeep’s father Ajaib Singh sees a newspaper report wherein then Patiala SSP SK Sharma says Kuldeep has been killed in an encounter with police on May 1, 1991. Police say Kuldeep was wanted in many extortion, robbery and dacoity cases.
March 14, 2002: Complaint filed against four cops SK Sharma, Balkar Singh, SPS Basra and Gurcharan Singh
Aug 28, 2010: Rupnagar court summons accused
June 3, 2014: Charges framed against the four accused for murder
Dec 3, 2016: Sessions judge acquits the four accused for want of evidence