Balwinder Singh, the man who shot dead Punjab FDA officer Dr Neha Shoree before killing himself last Friday, was struggling with his finances and had sold his plot to fund his daughter’s medical education in Ukraine. His colleagues at the hospital, where he used to work 9-10 nights a month, describe him as “well-behaved, but irresponsible at times”.
As the police search for clues to the motive behind the crime, people who worked with Balwinder say they saw no warning signs of the impending tragedy.
Colleagues at Chowdhary Hospital on Singhpura Road, Kurali, where Balwinder used to work as a BAMS doctor, remember him as a fitness buff. “He worked here for around six months. Many times we used to call him to attend to a patient, but he would tell us that he was in a gym near the hospital. He could delay examination of a patient but he never missed his gym session,” said a doctor.
Hospital owner Dr Rajinder Chowdhary said that before sacking Balwinder Singh for negligence leading to the death of a woman patient, he had called a meeting and asked him about his ‘underperformance’ in responding to emergency situations. “He did not speak much, just mumbled sorry, and did not object to his expulsion…his behaviour with women staff in our hospital was also very good.’’
Dr Chowdhary’s son Dr Manan, who had issued the medical fitness certificate to Balwinder Singh for applying for an arms licence, said he was reserved, but medically fit.
“From his behaviour, we could never imagine that he would take such a step. He asked me to issue a medical fitness certificate, he underwent the tests and I issued the certificate,” Dr Manan told Chandigarh Newsline.
Balwinder was a temporary employee who was paid Rs 1,000 per night.
Jaswinder Singh, owner of the Sidhu Fitness Club, around 200 metres from the hospital, said Balwinder had introduced himself as a doctor and joined his gym around six months ago. “I interacted with him five to six times in the last six months, but he did not tell me his name. He would keep his phone at the counter and work out for around an hour,” Jaswinder added.
A police officer privy to the investigation said they called around 50-60 people in the contact list of Balwinder and to whom he had spoken before the incident.
“He was also an informal matchmaker. There were 203 persons who were in touch with him for finding a suitable match for their children,” said the officer.
Balwinder’s family refused to speak about him. One of his relatives said his mother was seriously ill and her condition had deteriorated after the incident. “Balwinder’s wife runs a parlour, which is the main source of income for the family,’’ said a relative.
Meanwhile, five days after the incident, the neighbours still can’t come to terms with what had happened. “He was very reserved. He did not drink, he would always talk about settling his children. What prompted him to kill Dr Neha is still a mystery for us,” a neighbour told Newsline.
Meanwhile, CCTV footage of the day of the incident showed Balwinder entering Shoree’s office with a bag, and hurriedly running out a while later.
Kharar Senior Medical Officer (SMO) Dr Surinder Singh on Wednesday told Newsline that according to the post-mortem report of Shoree, two bullets were found in her body.
Meanwhile, the Ropar district administration has sent a report about a “lapse” on the part of the owner of Vipin Gun House, to the Home department.