Police are looking to ascertain the veracity of a video clip which purportedly shows the Singhu lynching victim telling a mob before his death that he was given Rs 30,000, and sharing the phone number of a person with them.
The 43-second clip was purportedly recorded before 35-year-old Lakhbir Singh was lynched and strung up to a barricade, and his hand chopped up, allegedly by Nihang Sikhs who claim he desecrated the Sikh holy book.
“In the video, the victim has claimed he was paid Rs 30,000 and also mentioned a phone number of another person. We are verifying these claims and will conduct a probe. We are also coordinating with the Punjab Police on this,” Mayank Gupta, the assistant superintendent of police (ASP) Kharkhoda, Sonipat, who is part of a Special Investigation Team probing the videos of the incident, told The Indian Express.
The Indian Express also called the phone number mentioned by the victim in the video clip. It belongs to a resident of village Relliyan, which is over 2 km from Lakhbir’s village, Cheema Kalan, in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district.
The man, a farmer, said that for four months, Lakhbir had worked for him rearing cattle. “Often, he would get late at work and use my phone to inform his sister. That is the reason he had memorised my phone number. He had even written my contact number on a wall in his house,” he said.
He said that on October 2, Lakhbir told him that he would not be working for him and left. “He told me he wanted to work at the mandi and quit. That is the last time I spoke to him. I do not know why he mentioned my name in the clip when he was being questioned by Nihangs. This claim of money being offered to me as part of some conspiracy is baseless. I have never been to the Singhu border. My father went twice to protest in solidarity with the farmers. I am not aware under what circumstances Lakhbir went to the Singhu border. I have been getting calls from police and the media about this. Tarn Taran police have also summoned me tomorrow to answer these queries,” he said.
SSP Tarn Taran, Harvinder Singh Virk, said, “Punjab Home minister has constituted an SIT to look into this matter. We will probe all aspects of this case. We will decide the next course of action in our first meeting.”
Police have so far arrested four Nihang Sikhs — Sarabjit Singh, Narain Singh, Bhagwant Singh, and Govind Preet Singh — in the case. Police have said that the accused had confessed to having killed Lakhbir as ‘punishment’ for desecrating the Guru Granth Sahib.