One of the two Thapar University students who survived the mysterious incident in Rajpura in 2010 in which two of their classmates were killed has joined the police investigation after returning from Canada and told the police that it was a case of accident, and not murder.
The second survivor, Zorawar Singh, who has been named as an accused in the case, is yet to return. The police said that he had failed to turn up despite notices sent to him while his father, a PCS officer, said that he would be returning to India next week.
Police sources said that the ongoing investigation so far indicated that it was an accident, as none of the key witnesses had alleged foul play.
In December last year, the Supreme Court had ordered the Punjab Police to file a case of murder in connection with the incident which was initially presumed to be a road accident. The directions were based on a probe report by DIG Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh which indicated murder. Several other probe reports, which said that it was an accident, were rejected by the court due to procedural lapses while constituting the SITs to investigate the matter.
“We will present the final report in the case after Zorawar returns to India and gets his statement recorded. In case he does not return, he will obtain arrest warrants and initiate proceedings to bring him,” said Patiala SP (Detective) J S Teja, investigating officer.
Zorawar’s father Gurmeet Singh, who is currently posted as the secretary at RTA, Jalandhar, said, “Zorawar has applied for leave from his work and will be coming to India next week. He is eager to join the investigation as we want the truth to come out. Even during the previous investigations, he returned to India whenever his presence was required.”
Meanwhile, Mohali-based advocate Gurbax Singh Bains, father of one of the two youths who died, said that he was disappointed with the investigation. “A few days ago, I wrote a complaint to the DGP as the Patiala police is not holding the probe as per the SC ruling. DIG Singh’s report said that custodial interrogation of the accused is required but so far, they have not even joined the probe,” he said.
The family of Gaurav Verma, the other victim, however, has never alleged foul play.
Jaskaran Singh, the survivor who has now joined the investigation, could not be reached. Sources, however, said Jaskaran reiterated his earlier statements made to the police and said that they were returning to Patiala after having food at a dhaba near Rajpura when their SUV hit a stationary truck parked on the road near Liberty Chowk in Rajpura, leading to the tragedy.
The cleaner of the truck, Bablu, who was present near by and probably the only eyewitness besides the students, had told the Patiala police that it was an accident. However, he told DIG Singh that he saw two groups arrive at the spot in different cars, and the occupants of one of the vehicles started thrashing the other party. He made a different statement to two different SITs constituted later and also to the Patiala police in the latest probe, and said that he was pressured by Bains who visited his house four months after the incident.
The DIG found several other discrepancies in the investigation, which were seconded by the SITs but the latter recommended action against the first investigating officer for lapses and concluded that there was no foul play in the incident.
The Patiala police has recorded the statements of more than 40 people, but the probe so far has indicated accident. Several questions remain unanswered though, including different mobile tower locations of the students before the crime.
“The investigation is still on, and we will conclude our findings after probing all angles,” said Teja.