‘Whistleblower’s’ death: Two years later, Punjab cops fail to register FIR

  • Prabhjit Singh, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jun 10, 2016 13:17 IST
Victim’s father Chaman Lal talking to the media in Chandigarh. (Keshav Singh/HT Photo)

Two years after the mysterious death of a watchman at the godown of a government foodgrain agency, the Punjab Police have failed to even register a first information report (FIR) despite constituting a special investigation team (SIT) to crack the case in September last year.

The deceased — Raj Kumar — had reportedly sounded the alarm over the alleged pilferage of the foodgrain stocks at the Mullapur godown of Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (Punsup). His body with bruises and a head injury was found in a wasteland near the railway tracks in the nearby Bhanohar village on June 15, 2014.

Raj Kumar’s elderly and poor parents have since been running from pillar to post, calling on the top brass at the police headquarters here and approaching the media to seek justice.

Even additional director general of police (ADGP, crime) IPS Sahota’s directions to inspector general of police (IG, crime) Vibhu Raj to look into the matter last year have failed to yield any result. Initially, suspecting it to be a mishap, the railway police had filed proceedings in the case under Section 174 of the criminal procedure code (CrPC).

However, after the victim’s family cried foul, the IG had formally handed over the inquiry to the then Ludhiana range deputy inspector general of police (DIG), SK Mittal, on September 9, 2015, who, in turn, formed a special investigation team (SIT) to solve the case.

The SIT headed by superintendent of police (SP, investigation) JS Sidhu has not even registered an FIR in the case so far. Sidhu said he had been quizzing the suspects named by the victim’s father, Chamal Lal, and had approached the Jagraon civil hospital, where the post-mortem examination was conducted, for “a review of the medical report”.

Chaman Lal, in his complaint, has pointed out that his deceased son was a whistleblower with regards to the illegal movement of foodgrain stocks from the Punsup godown, and was being harassed by the godown inspector and other staff members for opposing the alleged pilferage.

SIT member deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Ajay Raj Singh, who is posted at Dakha, had recorded Chaman Lal’s statement in January this year. The DSP told HT on phone that he was “not fully aware of the case at this moment”. The cop has been entrusted with the task of investigating the matter by summoning the suspects named by the complainant.

Ludhiana range DIG SK Kalia, who succeeded Mittal, said the investigating team was awaiting a fresh report from the board of medical team that was formed as part of the probe.

“It’s a matter of four to five days, and foul play, if any, will come on the surface soon,” he said, adding that the FIR will be registered only after receiving the fresh medical report.

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