Punjab govt goes slow in ETO suicide case
The Punjab government’s dilly-dallying over taking concrete action following its own high-level probe slamming a Vigilance Bureau (VB) trap, continues.
Hindustan Times had reported in a detailed three-part series (custodians of corruption) last month how the VB had registered a false case against excise and taxation officer (ETO) Ranjit Singh, who later committed suicide.
A probe panel constituted by the chief secretary had termed the VB trap against Ranjit Singh as wrong and recommended suspension of two VB cops and a taxation official and registration of cases against them.
Ranjit Singh ended his life on April 22 last year, a day after he was released on bail. Arrested on March 23, 2011, he had been pleading that it was a false trap by the VB, and his stance was vindicated by the probe team of IAS officer Mansavi Kumar and IPS officer Harpreet Singh Sidhu.
The duo submitted the report to chief secretary SC Aggarwal in July 2011. Aggarwal took 5 months to write to the VB and to the excise and taxation department in December to seek explanation from the persons indicted in the report and send the same to him “before taking any action”.
The VB washed its hands off the charges by simply repatriating the indicted police personnel — superintendent of police Amandeep Kaur and head constable Harminder Singh — to the police headquarters.
Punjab home secretary DS Bains, who had received the chief secretary’s reminder on February 2, 2012 for “action”, told HT on Friday that he was in the process of sending his comments back to the chief secretary after considering the reply to the notice served to SP Amandeep Kaur. Bains, however, refused to divulge the details.
Assistant excise and taxation commissioner (AETC) Harinder Kaur Brar, who was found to have ignored her duty and not cooperated with the probe panel, wanted the entire inquiry report for filing her defense.
Excise and taxation commissioner (ETC) A Venuprasad said he still awaited the explanation from his AETC (Brar). He said the process of releasing all dues of the deceased ETO to the victim’s family has been completed and a job to the ETO’s son has also been assured to the family as per the inquiry panel recommendations.
Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had directed the chief secretary for the inquiry after the victim ETO’s family met him. Ranjit Singh’s wife, Manjit Kaur, left the country in January after she was denied security following threats to stop her pursuit for action on the probe findings.
The panel had also recommended cases under IPC against the two traders, Rajiner Singh Gopi and Sanjiv Sood, who were found to be hand-in-glove with the VB sleuths as complainants. No action has been taken against them.