SIT to probe Karnal builder's 'unnatural' death after raid, five cops suspended

  • Vishal Joshi, Hindustan Times, Karnal
  • Updated: Apr 25, 2015 22:41 IST

A special investigating team (SIT) to be led by Kurukshetra superintendent of police (SP) has been constituted to probe the death of a local builder, Balbir Pal, 48, who allegedly died of shock within an hour after a police team trespassed his residence on Thursday midnight.

It was alleged that state secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a Karnal resident Chander Prakash Kathuria had influenced the police to conduct raid in odd hours to harass Pal and his family.

The family alleged that Pal died due to shock as he was unable to face harassment following the raid at Kathuria's behest.

Six persons booked

Following a police complaint by Pal's mother Prem Kumari, the police booked six persons, including four cops, senior BJP leader Kathuria and his wife Hemlata. However, no arrest has been made so far.

Pal was co-accused in a case where bank statements of Kathuria were allegedly withdrawn from a local bank. A policeman, Umed Singh, had been already arrested in the case where he had impersonated as an official of the economic and offenses wing of the Haryana police.

Meanwhile, following an assurance by the Karnal inspector general of police Hanif Qureshi on Saturday of a fair probe, the family members agreed to cremate Pal's body.

Qureshi said assistant superintendent of police, Kurukshetra, Sumar Partap Singh will head the probe.

Action against policeman

The IG said five policemen - sub-inspector Ram Narain Misha, assistant sub-inspector Balbir Singh, head constable Jasvinder and constables Rajiv and Jagdeep - had been suspended for carrying out a midnight raid at Pal's residence at Pal Nagar in Karnal's vicinity.

Since morning, a large number of relatives and friends of the deceased gathered at Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College here. Pal's post-mortem was conducted at the medical college but the family refused to perform last rites until all accused, including Kathuria and his wife Hemlata, were not arrested.

Aggrieved family members and others raised slogans against the police authorities for going slow against a senior leader of the ruling party in the state. Deceased's eldest daughter Anushka urged the BJP leadership to initiate action against Kathuria.

The riot control police teams and water cannons were stationed near the hospital chowk. But no untoward incident took place and cremation took place peacefully around 4 pm.

Pal was associated with the Congress and was close to two-time Congress legislator Sumita Singh. He was also a close aide of former chief minister Bansi Lal and had business links with Kathuria. Later, Pal and Kathuria parted ways following legal disputes over financial matters.

BJP leader for action against Kathuria

A group of the BJP leaders, including district president Ashok Sukhija, senior deputy mayor Krishan Garg, former Union minister ID Swami and former minister Shashi Pal Mehta met Pal's family members at the medical college and supported their demand of arrest of the accused.

Kathuria, who unsuccessfully contested elections as the BJP candidate from Karnal in 2005, does not enjoy cordial relations with party leaders in Karnal district.

Meanwhile, showing solidarity with the aggrieved family, Swami and Mehta spoke to Karnal SP Abshishek Garg and demanded quick action on the complaint.

Later, Swami told reporters that it was unfortunate that police conducted a midnight raid on a Pal's house, who had no criminal past.

"I agree with the allegations (against Kathuria) that the police could not take such a step without political interference.

He may be my colleague in the party, but he should be arrested without delay if found involved in the case. The SP has assured a fair and speedy probe and we are with the aggrieved family," said Swami.

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