Hawala charge against Jalandhar priest: CCTV footage debunks police claim of place of cash seizure
The footage of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed near the house of Father Anthony Madassary of Franciscan Missionaries of Jesus congregation at Pratappura village near Jalandhar has raised question about the Khanna police’s claim of having seized Rs 9.66 crore from three cars on the national highway (NH-1) on March 29.
In the footage available with HT, six vehicles are seen coming out of Anthony’s house at 4:49pm on March 29 followed by a policeman in uniform. Later, the cars are seen going from the link road to the priest’s house towards the Nakodar-Jalandhar main road.
In a press release, the Khanna police had claimed to have busted a hawala racket and seized the unaccounted cash totalling Rs 9.66 at a checkpoint on the national highway in Doraha town in Ludhiana district. Police said acting on a tip off, a team led by deputy superintendent of police (investigation) Hans Raj, Doraha station house officer (SHO) Karnail Singh checked the cars.
Later, Father Anthony said he and his aides were detained from his house and were taken to Khanna via Jalandhar, Apra, Macchiwara and Samrala and kept them at the crime investigation agency (CIA)’s Khanna office.
DSP Hans Raj said they have already issued a press release in this regard and there was no need for an explanation.
“I am not aware of any CCTV footage,” he said.
Sources said the police team involved in the seizure didn’t keep their seniors in the loop about the operation and had been changing their version since.
DGP Dinkar Gupta has directed inspector general of police (IGP) Praveen Kumar Sinha to a probe the matter. Sinha started probe on Tuesday and summoned some police officials to record their statements while others were to be questioned on Wednesday.
Kumar was to visit Jalandhar to record the statements of the witnesses but did not since Father Anthony was not around. He will be visiting Jalandhar in the coming days, it is learnt.
LOCAL POLICE HAD NO INFO ABOUT RAID
The Khanna police also bypassed the procedure of inform the local police while conducting a raid or detaining the persons out of their jurisdiction.
Pratappura village is under the jurisdiction of the sadar police station in the Jalandhar commissionerate.
Sadar station house officer (SHO) Amandeep Singh Brar said nobody shared any information regarding the raid with them though he was on the leave.
Jalandhar police commissioner Gurpreet Singh refused to comment on the issue.