Harkirat Singh, the grandson of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, died of a gunshot wound Sunday morning. The incident occurred at his Sector 5 home around 11.20 am.
The SHO of Sector 3 police station, Neeraj Sarna, said that while they were probing the matter, preliminary investigations showed that the victim shot himself. However, Harkirat’s wife told the police it was an “accidental fire” that happened when Harkirat was cleaning his pistol.
Police have now opened inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.
Harkirat (41), who was the sarpanch of his family’s native village Kotli, is survived by his wife. His father, Tej Parkash Singh, was the former Punjab transport minister and his elder brother, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, is MLA from Khanna. His cousin and Congress MP from Ludhiana, Ravneet Singh Bittu, said that Harikrat was being treated at PGI Chandigarh for depression.
“He suffered a major accident last year and sustained serious head injuries. Then he was admitted for a few months. Depression was attacking him continuously, and over the last 15-20 days it had increased,” Bittu said, adding that on Sunday morning Harkirat had gone for a walk along Sukhna Lake with a relative. According to the relative, both were there for an hour, and Harkirat told him that he wanted to finish the sewage pipeline work in Kotli that he had started in 2013.
He (Harkirat Singh) was suffering from depression & was taking treatment for the same: Ravneet Singh Bittu, Brother pic.twitter.com/17Z52wmp9K
— ANI (@ANI_news) May 29, 2016
“After he returned, Harkirat asked his wife to prepare breakfast. The incident took place within a few minutes. He shot himself with a licenced weapon,” added Bittu.
As she heard the gunshot, Harkirat’s wife rushed out of kitchen and found him in a pool of blood. She informed her father-in-law, who had left the house minutes earlier. Harkirat was rushed to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education Research (PGIMER).
A PGI official said he was brought to the hospital at 11.53 am. “He had a bullet injury on the right side of the head. He was declared dead after two hours at 1.45 pm,” said a PGI doctor.
Though Harkirat did not hold any post in the Congress, he had campaigned for Bittu. In 2013, he was unanimously elected sarpanch of Kotli, and was also looking after the family’s agricultural land in the village. The last rites, the family said, will be performed Monday.
Soon after the incident, several Congress MLAs and former Punjab CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal visited the deceased’s residence. State convenor of AAP, Sucha Singh Chhotepur also visited the house to offer condolences.