Police have confirmed that Surinder Singh, one of the three main accused in the Rs 6.65 crore misappropriation case, who was arrested Tuesday, had accompanied a police team that had raided the residence of priest Anthony Madassery at Partapura in Jalandhar on March 29.
Meanwhile, sources said that Surinder had, when he was absconding, spent some days at the residence of a senior Khanna police officer. Members of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case, however, remain tight-lipped on the matter.
Sources further said that Surinder had also told police that he and the other two main accused — assistant sub-inspectors (ASIs) Joginder Singh and Rajpreet Singh — had absconded a week after the raid, after eyewitnesses recognised them during an identification parade at Phillaur on April 6.
Police, however, are yet to reveal any details on the whereabouts of the allegedly missing cash.
Surinder is said to be the informer who had alerted police of the priest and a few others allegedly being in possession of hawala money. He was booked under section 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 34 (common intention) of IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act at police station of state Crime Branch in Mohali district on April 12. The two ASIs are still at large.
“The three had been called by SIT head, IG Crime PK Sinha, to Khanna for recording their statements. They were also called to Phillaur on April 6 where some of the eyewitnesses including staff of the South Indian Bank Jalandhar was present,” said a senior police officer, adding that the eyewitnesses had recognised them.
Sources said the three had been in touch with each other after absconding.
“Eyewitnesses told the SIT that a team took Father Madassary and a huge amount of the cash lying on the first floor, while another team came after a few minutes and went to the first floor where bank staff were counting money. And this, a team of three men had forcibly taken the entire amount, which was over Rs 6 crore from the bank staff without making an inventory,” said a senior officer.
Sources said SIT head Sinha, who visited the priest’s house on April 7 to record statements, had told the IG the same thing.
Surinder’s father Gurnam Singh met his son at Mohali on Thursday. “My son told me that the money was with the two ASIs and he had just accompanied them to the house of Father Anthony on the day of the raid,” he said.
While police have claimed that Surinder was arrested from Samrala on April 16, sources said that he had spent some days at the residence of a Khanna police officer, and after information about the same got out, it was made to look like he had been arrested from Samrala.
Priest Anthony Madassery had filed a complaint about misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 6.65 crore by Khanna Police, which had claimed recovery of Rs 9.66 crore worth hawala money from him and five others on March 29. Two days later, the priest had in a press conference accused police of misappropriation.
An SIT formed to probe the case has yet to ascertain the exact amount the missing cash.