Kasauli town planner killing: 12 cops penalised for dereliction of duty
Two years after assistant town planner was shot dead by owner of a guest house at Kasauli during a drive to demolish illegal structures, police have penalised 12 cops who accompanied the slain town planner for dereliction of duty.
Police headquarters has issued orders for permanent forfeiture of five years of service of the twelve cops. “Each of them has been awarded punishment of permanent forfeiture of five years of approved service (their service will not be considered for promotion and pensionary benefits),” said inspector general of police, armed police and training, Himanshu Mishra. Police have penalised all twelve cops, who were on duty along with slain officer during the demolition drive on May 3, 2018. Those penalised are inspector Madan Singh, sub-inspector (SI) Kuldeep Singh, SI Dalip Singh, head constable (HC) Nagender Singh, HC Hem Raj, constables—Sanjeev Kumar, Sunil Kumar, Narender Kumar and Ishwar Dass and three women cops—Champa, Usha and Sharda—for dereliction of duty.
Shail Bala Sharma, the assistant town planner, and a public works department (PWD) employee had died when Vijay Singh, the owner of the guest house, fired at them on May 3, 2018. Shail was acting on the order of the Supreme Court to demolish illegal construction by hotels and guest houses at Kasauli. Her death had sent shock waves across the nation and moved the apex court to take suo motu notice of it. Vijay Singh had managed to flee the spot, despite the presence of policemen and a Quick Reaction Team (QRT) on the spot. The firing incident had put the spot light on the police functioning. Vijay Singh was arrested two days later from a temple in Mathura.
What raised more suspicion was that the two QRT personnel, who were holding AK 47 rifles, also failed to react after Singh opened fire at the duo.
The cover up
Police headquarters preliminary investigations into the incident had infuriated the public as well as chief minister Jai Ram Thakur. Police initially tried to cover up its failure, saying that Shail had gone to the demolition spot without informing the police.
Magisterial probe indicts cops
Government had ordered a magisterial probe into the incident that indicted the cops for dereliction of duty. The probe was headed by the then divisional commissioner, Shimla, Dinesh Malhotra. The report had pointed out that the team of officers, led by Shail Bala, was assisted by 14 cops, including two personnel from the quick response team. It mentioned that the station house officer (SHO) and 14 other cops were unarmed and were only carrying sticks and shields. Two cops assisting the demolition team were equipped with AK-47 but did not fire at the hotel owner. Even the inspector and the assistant sub inspector (ASI) had not carried their service revolver.