At least 17 shots were fired outside the house of hotelier and businessman Rakesh Singla in Sector 33, Chandigarh, on May 31 last year. (HT FIle Photo)
At least 17 shots were fired outside the house of hotelier and businessman Rakesh Singla in Sector 33, Chandigarh, on May 31 last year. (HT FIle Photo)

Sector-33 firing: High court denies bail to three accused

The Punjab and Haryana high court has denied bail to three accused in the firing outside the bungalow of hotelier and businessman Rakesh Singla in Sector 33 on May 31, last year
By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 11:45 PM IST

The Punjab and Haryana high court has denied bail to three accused in the firing outside the bungalow of hotelier and businessman Rakesh Singla in Sector 33 on May 31, last year. Rakesh is the brother of liquor baron Arvind Singla.

According to police, the shooting was conspired by gangster Lawrence Bishnoi to spread fear among the business community.

Taking up the petitions of accused Harinder Singh, Bahadur Singh and Sewak, the high court bench of justice Avneesh Jhingan observed that the firing incident happened in Chandigarh and recovery of 17 empty cartridges were an indicator of the magnitude of the incident.

“It was by chance that no one was injured, but that itself will not undermine the happening. The fact remains that in spite of passing of almost seven months, five of the nominated accused have not been arrested, which resulted in hampering the investigation,” the bench observed.

In the plea, the trio had argued that till date, apart from their disclosure statement, there was no other evidence. The challan had been presented in court and hence, bail should be granted.

The bench noted that the presentation of challans for the arrested persons may not indicate finalisation of their roles, so long as investigation was being carried out. There were at least five co-accused who were at large and investigation was not concluded.

It observed that the trio might not have been named by any witnesses, but the fact remained that as per the allegations levelled, they would be in a position to influence the co-accused and witnesses.

“In the facts of the present case, custodial interrogation of the petitioners may be necessary to take investigation to its logical end,” the bench said, dismissing the plea.

As per prosecution, the shooting incident was a deep-rooted conspiracy to spread fear among the business community in Chandigarh and Punjab to ensure protection money from businessmen. Bishnoi was the mastermind, who in spite of being in a Rajasthan jail, carried out the crime with the help of others.

The court observed that in spite of the fact that certain persons were confined in jail, they were able to get mobile phones and use WhatsApp to conspire and carry out such attack. “The alleged roles of the petitioners of providing help for carrying out the attack cannot be underestimated by their non-presence. Without the support, the attack may not have been possible,” the bench said, adding that to complete the chain and to have a deeper probe, custodial interrogation of the accused was necessary.

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