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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

After 20 years and four probes, CBI says Amritsar custodial death was a suicide

Theft accused Gurtej Singh was found hanging in police lockup in 1999; two cops were booked

india Updated: Aug 09, 2019 17:23 IST
Shailee Dogra
Shailee Dogra
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
The CBI has relied on the polygraph test of two accused cops, statement of other jail inmates and the deceased’s postmortem report to reach the conclusion.
The CBI has relied on the polygraph test of two accused cops, statement of other jail inmates and the deceased’s postmortem report to reach the conclusion.(Representational)
         

It took 20 years and four investigations to establish that the mysterious death of an undertrial, who was found hanging in Amritsar jail way back in 1999, was suicide.

The CBI has relied on the polygraph test of two accused cops, statement of other jail inmates and the deceased’s postmortem report to reach the conclusion.

On December 10, 1999, Gurtej Singh, alias Raju, of Amloh village of Fatehgarh Sahib, was arrested in a theft case and booked under Sections 382 and 511 of IPC. He was put up in the lockup of police station at A-Division, Amritsar. At about 10.30 pm, head constable Kirpal Singh saw that Gurtej had hanged himself with his shirt from a ventilator in the lockup. He immediately reported the matter to assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Jarnail Singh who informed his seniors. Later, a case under 304A (causing death by negligence) was registered against Jarnail and Kirpal.

Refusing to believe that Gurtej had committed suicide, his father Krishan Singh moved the Punjab and Haryana high court and sought the transfer of the case to CBI.

The probe was transferred to CBI in 2005. After completion of its investigation, the CBI filed its closure report in November 2010 before the CBI court, Patiala, but the court ordered reinvestigation into the case. The second closure report was filed in December 2013 and the court ordered a fresh probe. The third report was filed in February 2016. The court ordered reinvestigation again and the final closure report was filed in July this year in Mohali CBI court.

As the video recording and pictures of the lockup where the inmate had committed suicide had been destroyed, the CBI relied on the statement of other inmates lodged in the jail to establish that the deceased used a toilet seat to reach the ventilator to hang himself.

Besides, polygraph tests of Jarnail and Kirpal were got conducted by the CBI, wherein the accused got a clean chit. It was established that there was no foul play in Gurtej’s death and he committed suicide in the lockup.

The court of special judicial magistrate, CBI, Mohali, GS Sekhon, while accepting the closure report, recorded the statement of Krishan Singh, deceased’s father, who did not have any objection to the closure report.

First Published: Aug 09, 2019 17:22 IST

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