THE COURT of the Additional Sessions Judge Tuesday convicted seven persons for the murder of two unidentified persons and forging their identities with a motive to claim life insurance money worth around Rs 1.5 crore.
Besides those convicted today, five others accused in the case are yet to be arrested.
The case dates back to January 22, 2014 when badly charred bodies of two men were recovered from a Chevrolet Beat car on GT road near Big Bazaar outlet in Amritsar.
The car was registered in the name of Surinder Singh whose wife Jasbir Kaur identified one of the bodies to be his. She also said that the other body was of Surinder’s friend Sahib Singh and the latter’s wife corroborated the same.
Police believed it to be an accident but later, during investigation, found that both Surinder Singh and Sahib Singh were alive and had hatched a conspiracy along with 10 others to dupe the insurance companies.
Surinder’s wife and their relatives who were part of the gang had sued the car’s manufacturer for Rs 5 crore.
Surinder, a native of Maqboolpura in Amritsar, emerged as the key conspirator, but is yet to be arrested.
Those convicted today with life imprisonment till death include Surinder’s wife Jasbir Kaur and Sahib Singh. Five others convicted with life imprisonment include Jasbir’s relatives Sukhchain Singh and his wife Sarabjit Kaur, Avtar Singh, Ranjit Singh and Nishan Singh. Ranjit Singh died during the course of trial.
Surinder Singh, his sons Sukhwant and Mukhtiar Singh and their relatives Balwinder Singh and another accused Surinder Singh, all wanted by the police in the case, are yet to be arrested. Police investigations have revealed that Sukhwant Singh and Mukhtiar Singh are in Australia.
Police have also initiated proceedings to bring them back to India and face trial on murder charges. However, the whereabouts of Surinder Singh, Balwinder Singh and the other Surinder Singh were yet unknown.
Police investigations revealed that Surinder Singh and Sahib Singh hired two labourers, took them in their car to GT Road, drugged them and then burnt them to death. Subsequently, Surinder Singh and Sahib Singh went into hiding.
The conspiracy plot got busted when Surinder Singh and Sahib Singh fell apart and Surinder tried to kill Sahib Singh who escaped from the spot and reached his home. Meanwhile, the insurance company’s investigations have also found that the nominee’s column in Sahib Singh’s Rs 40 lakh insurance papers had Surinder Singh’s wife Jasbir Kaur’s picture with Sahib Singh’s wife Sunanda’s name. Further investigations also revealed that the signatures on Sahib Singh’s policy papers were not of Sunanda.
The matter was reported to the police and a case was registered.
How the case unfolded
On January 22, 2014, police found two bodies at 4 am.
From the car’s registration number, police reached Surinder Singh’s home. His wife Jasbir Kaur identified his body and told the police that he had left home to go to Chandigarh with one of his friends Sahib Singh. Police reached Sahib Singh’s residence and his wife Sunanda too corroborated the same. But Sunanda was not part of this conspiracy.
Police too believed it as an accidental death. Bodies were cremated. Subsequently, Municipal body issued their death certificates.
Both Surinder Singh and Sahib Singh had life insurance policies worth around Rs 1.5 crore in total. Claims were filed and insurance companies too began investigating. Sahib Singh had Rs. 40 lakh insurance cover. The company’s representative reached his home to found that the pictures of the woman pasted in the column for Sahib Singh’s nominee in the insurance policy was not of his wife Sunanda. The signatures were also not hers. Further investigations revealed that she was Jasbir Kaur, who was shown as Sunanda, Sahib Singh’s wife.
Sunanda, who was working as a domestic help at the residence of a college lecturer, informed her employer about it. She was referred to an NGO who further investigated the case and unravelled some parts of the conspiracy. Also, what further raised doubts was that Surinder’s two sons, Mukhtiar and Sukhwant who were staying in Australia, had learnt about their father’s death and reached Amritsar within 12 hours of the incident.
Meanwhile, Surinder Singh and Sahib Singh who had gone into hiding fell apart. Surinder Singh allegedly tried to kill Sahib Singh, but the latter escaped. He went to the police and spilled the beans. But since he was also involved in the conspiracy of murdering the two persons, he was convicted today. Till date, police has not been able to establish the identity of those two who were killed by Surinder Singh and Sahib Singh.