A probe by Punjab Vigilance Bureau into an alleged extortion case linked to murder of a finacier, Hardev Singh, in Longowal has put the role of IPS officer and former Sangrur SSP Inderbir Singh under scanner.
Hardev Singh was murdered allegedly by gangster Devinder Singh aka Babli Randhawa in February last year. Two men Dhanwant Singh, a resident of Kotra Amru village and Harjinder Singh, a resident of Dugga village, had alleged that they paid Rs 19.5 lakh to the police officials to save themselves from being “falsely implicated” in the case. However, the vigilance probe report, a senior functionary of the Bureau said, noted that the Dhanwant and Harjinder should have been arrested and chargesheeted in the case in connection with murder case. In purported video related to the crime put out by gangster Randhawa had him celebrating next to the financier’s body.
After an initial probe last year by Sangrur SSP Mandeep Singh Sidhu, where he recommended registration of an FIR and VB probe, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh had ordered the VB probe. The VB report was submitted to Punjab DGP recently.
The VB official further claimed: “Dhanwant Singh and Harjinder Singh should have been arrested and chargesheeted. Police first kept them in illegal confinement and then let them go. This apparently was done for a consideration. They should have been formally arrested in the case and should have been chargesheeted. And all this, first keeping them in illegal detention and then letting them go, cannot apparently happen without the knowledge of district police chief. This is one of the key pointers which indicate that former Sangrur SSP was in know of the things.” According to the official, the analysis of financial trail, as detailed by the duo about having arranged money which was paid to policemen, and other investigations “clearly point towards extortion”.
The officer said the probe report recommended that office of DGP conducts a deep and thorough probe at departmental level to look into the “pointers” which indicate the role of Inderbir. He added that the report had categorically indicted some other policemen named in the complaint and recommended registration of a case. Punjab DGP Suresh Arora said, “Yes, I have received the report. It is being examined.” Inderbir Singh declined to make any comment, when reached over phone.
The initial report by SSP Sidhu had pointed out that during questioning of two of the officers suspected to be involved in the alleged extortion, they had admitted to accepting graft money and then allegedly sharing Rs 15 lakh with former Sangrur SSP Inderbir Singh. Sidhu in his report had recommended registration of an FIR for extortion, wrongful confinement and under Prevention of Corruption Act. Apart from Inderbir, police officials named in the initial report included then Sunam DSP Jashandeep Gill and three other policemen, then SHO of Longowal Sikander Singh and police posts in-charge of Ajit Nagar and Badrukhan, Baljinder Singh Chatha and Gurmail Singh, respectively.