March 6, 2020 1:50:15 am
The Khanna police Thursday booked anti-drug Special Task Force’s (STF) Inspector Harbans Singh and three others from his team, for allegedly manhandling an advocate, Varun Gupta, and threatening him with a pistol.
The FIR against Harbans Singh, who headed the Ludhiana unit of the STF, comes after eight days of protesting lawyers blocked the main Ludhiana-Ferozepur road (national highway). Ludhiana-based Gupta, who had moved the high court alleging police inaction, has also been booked in a cross FIR on the complaint of one of the booked policemen alleging that he tried to stop them from doing their duty.
During the hearing Thursday, the high court was informed about the two FIRs. The court, which had earlier given one day’s time to police to take action in the case, was also informed that Harbans Singh has now been transferred to Ferozepur.
Meanwhile, the lawyers have decided not to block roads and said that further action will be decided during general house meeting of Ludhiana District Bar Association (DBA) on Friday. However, they protested against the cross FIR registered against Gupta by locking the gates of district courts complex in Ludhiana.
Gupta has alleged that on the night of February 25, Inspector Harbans Singh and his team waylaid him, assaulted and manhandled him on Ludhiana-Delhi road near Manji Sahib gurdwara in Khanna. He alleged that inspector had slapped him 12-15 times without giving any reason and later told him that it was a ‘misunderstanding’. He also alleged that inspector threatened to book him in a heroin smuggling case and also manhandled his paralytic father who was accompanying him.
SHO Khanna Sadar police station said FIR against four STF personnel — Harbans Singh, head constable Navkomaljot Singh, constable Gurwinder Singh and home guard Jaswant Singh — has been registered under the sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (act done with common intention) of IPC and section 57 of Arms Act on complaint of Gupta.
In the cross FIR, Gupta has been booked under the sections 353 (assault or criminal force deterring public servant from duty) and 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) of IPC on complaint of Navkomlajot Singh who has alleged that advocate tried to stop them from doing their duty when they tried to frisk him as part of anti-drug drive.
Meanwhile, Rajinder Babbar, vice-president, Ludhiana district bar association, said, “We have called off our protest for time being as we have full faith in judiciary. The HC has put stay on Gupta’s arrest in cross FIR till status report by police is not filed on next hearing scheduled for March 23. We will not block roads now. Punjab STF chief ADGP Harpreet Singh Sidhu himself appeared in HC and informed that Harbans Singh has been transferred to Ferozepur.”
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