Former Punjab Police DIG gets eight years in jail for abetting 2004 Amritsar mass suicide
DSP gets four years in prison for destroying evidence, while four members of victims’ family are sent behind bars for eight years; trial in case began in March 2016 on high court’s directions
AMRITSAR: A local court on Wednesday sentenced former Punjab Police deputy inspector general (DIG) Kultar Singh to eight years in jail and handed down a four-year prison term to serving deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Hardev Singh Boparai for abetting the suicide of five members of a family here in 2004.
Hardeep Singh, a resident of Chowk Karori locality in Amritsar, his wife Romi, mother Jaswant Kaur, and children Simran and Ismeet, ended their lives by consuming poison on October 31, 2004.
Additional district and sessions judge Sandeep Singh Bajwa also sentenced Hardeep’s sister Parminder Kaur, her husband Palwinder Pal Singh, Hardeep’s uncle Mohinder Singh and his daughter-in-law Subreen Kaur to eight years in jail for driving the five members to end their lives.
The judge imposed a fine of ?23,000 each on the former DIG and the four relatives, while the DSP was told to pay up ?20,000.
Parminder Kaur, Sabreen Kaur, Mohinder Singh and Palwinderpal Singh were convicted under Sections 306 (abetment to suicide), 388 (extortion) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, while Kultar Singh was convicted under Sections 306, 388, 506, 465 and 120-B of the IPC.
DSP Hardev Singh was convicted under Sections 465, 471, 120-B, 119, 201 and 217 of the IPC.
Five of them were convicted on Monday after they were found guilty of criminal intimidation and extortion. The DSP was convicted the same day for destruction of evidence.
JUSTICE AT LAST
The family had left a suicide note scribbled on a wall of their house besides posting a letter to their acquaintance, accusing four of their relatives, including Hardeep’s sister, and Kultar Singh, who was then serving as Amritsar senior superintendent of police (SSP), of forcing them to take the extreme step.
Hardeep was allegedly being blackmailed by his relatives and Kultar Singh for having committed a crime.
Hardev Singh, who was then in-charge of the police station where the first information report (FIR) in the incident was registered, was accused of tampering with evidence to protect the then SSP.
In 2009, Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) activist Sarabjit Singh Verka brought the matter before the court, seeking justice for the victims as the “police were not probing the case seriously despite having instituted three inquiries”.
On the basis of the application Moved by Verka, Kultar and Hardev were again summoned in January 2016 and a chargesheet was filed against the accused.
The trial in the case began in March 2016 on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court.