A 36-YEAR-OLD woman officer of the Punjab government’s Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) wing was shot dead inside her office near Mohali Friday morning by the owner of a pharmacy whose licence she had cancelled following a raid 10 years ago. The assailant committed suicide minutes later, shooting himself in the head after being cornered by a mob at the gate, police said.
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has ordered a probe into the incident.
The officer, Neha Shoree, was a resident of Panchkula and posted as the state FDA’s Zonal Licensing Authority since 2016. Police said Shoree’s six-year-old niece was present in her office in Kharar during the shooting.
The attacker, Balwinder Singh, 50, hailed from Morinda near the city. Police said he used to run a “chemist shop” in Morinda and Shoree had cancelled its licence in 2009. She was also scheduled to depose in a court case against him on the issue.
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According to police, Balwinder reached the FDA office on his motorbike around 10.30 am. He entered Shoree’s office, fired two bullets at her and shouted “Happy Holi”.
Mohali SSP Harcharan Singh Bhullar told The Indian Express: “One bullet hit Neha on the temple and another on the chest. Balwinder tried to escape but people blocked him at the gate. Finding himself cornered, he took out his revolver and tried to scare them. Then, he shot himself in the chest and the head.”
Shoree and Balwinder were rushed to a private hospital nearby, where the officer was declared brought dead while the attacker died on way to PGIMER, Chandigarh. Police said they have recovered the revolver used in the crime and a knife wrapped in a newspaper from Balwinder.
“In September 2009, Neha was posted as a Drug Inspector in Ropar district, when she raided Balwinder’s shop. During the raid, 35 types of tablets used by drug addicts were recovered and Balwinder could not produce any supporting document. That was when she cancelled his licence,” said SSP Bhullar.
He said Balwinder obtained an arms licence from the Ropar administration on March 9, and bought the revolver two days later.
Shoree is survived by a two-year-old daughter and husband Varun Monga, who works in a bank. Her niece had accompanied her to office because of her ongoing school vacations, police said. Balwinder is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.