Suspended Punjab Police IG Gautam Cheema, who had been absconding in two criminal cases until Thursday, got VIP treatment when he visited the Phase I police station on Friday to join the investigation, as directed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Before Cheema arrived, the police closed the station to the media and the general public. After his arrival, Cheema parked his car right outside the SHO’s office, although the general public is not allowed to park their cars inside. The policemen saluted Cheema as he got off his car. Soon, a policeman was seen carrying mineral water, juice and refreshments inside. When Cheema came out, he was accompanied by the SHO, who saw him off.
The gates of the police station were opened when SSP Inder Mohan Singh Bhatti became aware of the situation. Cheema’s car was then parked at a distance, and he did not get the same treatment at Mataur police station which he visited later.
Cheema is accused of abducting Sumedh Gulati, a co-accused of alleged conman Devinder Singh who is a one-time friend of Cheema, from this police station. The other case of molestation was lodged by Devinder Singh’s wife Kricspy Khera at the Mataur police station.
The court had stayed his arrest in both cases and asked him to join the investigation.
Police sources said Cheema submitted his passport, furnished bonds of Rs 1 lakh each in both cases, and completed other legal formalities.
Mohali SP (Detective) G S Grewal said Cheema told the police that he never visited the Phase I police station on the night of August 26, when he is alleged to have carried out the abduction of Gulati, nor did he thrash Gulati after taking him to a nearby private hospital, as stated in the FIR.
Accompanied by advocate Sumit Sehgal, who stood as surety, Cheema arrived at the Phase I police station in Sector 57 in a Toyota Fortuner. Soon after, SHO Pawan Kumar, the investigating officer, arrived and started questioning him. SP Grewal also arrived.
After about 45 minutes, Cheema got into his car and drove to the Mataur police station where he was quizzed by SHO Rajeev Kumar for about 30 minutes, again in the presence of SP Grewal, regarding the molestation case.
Cheema did not respond to media queries, except saying, “I’m confident that justice will not be denied.” To all questions, he said, “Ask the police.”
Grewal said that he was present only to supervise the investigation. “I do not really know what happened in the police stations as the IOs questioned him. Also, I went to the Phase I police station quite late,” he said.
Probed further, Grewal said, “He claimed to be falsely implicated in the kidnapping case. But of course, in the molestation case, he cannot deny his presence (at complainant Kricspy Khera’s house).”