Police-politico nexus aided Akali Dal’s Valtoha hoodwink law in 1983 doctor murder case
Although Akali Dal’s Virsa Singh Valtoha was arrested from the Golden Temple during Operation Bluestar in 1984 and was detained in the Jodhpur and Tihar jails, the police in the Dr Trehan murder case told the court that he was absconding and they could not arrest him despite all efforts.Updated: Jan 13, 2019 21:24 IST
The 1983 murder case of Dr Sudarshan Kumar Trehan, a renowned doctor of Patti in Tarn Taran, was hushed up due to a police-politician nexus that helped one of the accused, Virsa Singh Valtoha (who went on to become a two-time Akali MLA) hoodwink the law enforcement agencies for decades, an HT investigation has revealed.
Dr Trehan was murdered in his Patti clinic on September 30, 1983.
An FIR in the murder case was registered against unidentified persons the same day. A year later, police took on remand Hardev Singh, who was then lodged in the Nabha jail in other criminal cases.
During interrogation, Hardev confessed that he, along with Baldev Singh and Valtoha, were behind Trehan’s murder. On the basis of his confession, Valtoha was named as an accused.
Although Valtoha was arrested from the Golden Temple during Operation Bluestar in 1984 and was detained in the Jodhpur and Tihar jails, the police in the Dr Trehan murder case surprisingly told the court that he was absconding and they could not arrest him despite their all-out efforts.
A document dated November 7, 1984, that the Patti police submitted seeking arrest warrants against Valtoha, says “he is absconding to evade arrest”.
The police on the basis of false submissions got Valtoha’s arrest warrants issued and later the court ordered them to comply with Section 82 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to set in motion legal procedure before declaring an absconding accused a proclaimed offender.
Surprisingly, posters were posted at Valtoha’s residence and an announcement was made at his village asking him to surrender in the court knowing fully well that he was lodged in jail.
“The whole process was a mockery of justice as the accused was in jail. These actions of police helped him get bail,” said advocate RS Bains of the Punjab Human Rights Organisation which has submitted a complaint to the inspector general of police (border range Amritsar) SPS Parmar in the case.
As if all this was not enough, the challan was never presented in the case against Valtoha and the case files went missing from the Patti police station. No inquiry was conducted in this regard too.
“As per the procedure, the munshi, the station house officer and the gazetted police official concerned have to submit quarterly reports regarding files and case property of cases. Surprisingly, no official pointed out the disappearance of murder case file,” advocate Bains said.
A copy of the FIR (number 346) dated September 9,1983, under Sections 302, 307, 452 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code mentions Valtoha to be a proclaimed offender.
While Valtoha managed to get bail in the case in February 1991 from district sessions judge JS Sidhu, no supplementary challan was ever submitted, case file records procured from the court reveal.
On the other hand, police and intelligence agencies cleared Valtoha’s applications for passport, arms licence and security.
In fact, the court in its orders while acquitting Hardev Singh and Baldev Singh (who got their trial separated) in the case in November 1990, said, “According to the prosecution version, Dr Trehan was administering glucose to Sukhjinder Kaur but she has not been cited as witness, not to speak of producing her as a witness. Because when Dr Trehan was attending on her, she must have also witnessed the occurrence.”
Advocate Bains demanded that Valtoha’s election to the state assembly twice based on the fraudulent documents should be held null and void to preserve the sanctity of such an institution. He also demanded action against the police officials involved in irregularities leading to non-presentation of the charge sheet against Valtoha in the court.
First Published: Jan 13, 2019 21:23 IST