Two days after vigilance inquiry orders in an alleged case of money extortion from farmers by five police officials, including former Sangrur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Inderbir Singh; inspector general of economic offences wing, vigilance bureau, Shive Kumar Verma started probe by visiting Sangrur and holding meetings with the victims and police officials here on Thursday.
Inspector general EOW, Verma, arrived at the residence of senior superintendent of police (SSP) Mandeep Singh Sidhu, where victim, Dhanwant Singh of Kotra Amrhu village and Harjinder Singh of Dugga village narrated their stories in two-and-half-hour long meeting. After that, the IG inspected Ajit Nagar police station, where the victims were allegedly kept and tortured by the accused cops. Verma talked to the local police personnel as well.
“Two persons submitted affidavits and as I was appointed for the probe, I met them and listened to their side of the story. I visited the police station as well where they were kept. A full-fledged enquiry has been started and we are collecting facts. If we find anything illegal, action will be taken against the accused,” said Verma.
On Tuesday, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh ordered probe against five cops — former Sangrur SSP Inderbir Singh, Sunam deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Jashandeep Gill, Longowal station house officer (SHO) Sikandar Singh, Sangrur city police post in-charge Baljinder Singh and Badrukhan post in-charge Gurmail Singh. The vigilance officer called four cops for investigation but they did not reach for inquiry.
“We asked the cops to be present but they did not pay heed. Now, we will summon them in written,” Verma added.
The victims, Dhanwant Singh and Harjinder Singh, told the vigilance officer that they fear for their safety. “They showed fear but we assured them that they will be protected. I asked the Sangrur SSP to be careful about their security,” said the IG EOW.
A 25-year-old financier, Hardev Singh, was shot dead in Longowal in February by five gangsters, led by Davinder Singh, alias Babli Randhawa. Later, they posted a video celebrating the murder.
The farmers, Dhanwant Singh of Kotra Amrhu village and Harjinder Singh of Dugga village, alleged that they were taken into custody illegally, just because they knew Randhawa before he became a gangster.
The police then extorted money from their families, alleged the farmers, seeking protection from victimisation and harassment.