A special CBI court on Wednesday convicted and sentenced two former Punjab Police personnel to life imprisonment in a 26-year-old fake encounter case.
Raghubir Singh, the then Station House Officer (SHO) of Beas police station, and Dara Singh, a sub-inspector at the same police station at the time of the encounter, were convicted for killing a 15-year-old, Harpal Singh, at Nijjar village in Amritsar district on September 18, 1992. Both were sent to Patiala jail after the pronouncement of the verdict.
Three other policemen, Nirmaljeet Singh, Jasbir Singh and Paramjeet Singh, posted as constables at Beas police station at the time of the incident, were acquitted by the court.
Another accused in the case, Ram Lubhaya, who was also posted at Beas police station, died during the trial of the case.
The two convicts have to undergo life imprisonment under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 10 years of imprisonment in section 364 (kidnapping).
Harpal Singh’s counsel Satnam Singh Bains said a police party led by SI Ram Lubhaya picked up Harpal Singh from his home from Palha village in Amritsar district on September 14, 1992. Bains said Harpal was kept in illegal detention for four days and on the intervening night of September 17/18, he was killed in a fake police encounter at Nijjar village.
According to Bains, the police had claimed that two boys, Harpal Singh and Harjeet Singh, were intercepted when they were patrolling along with CRPF at Nijjar village and that they started firing at the police party and were killed after firing for 20 minutes in which the police party fired 217 rounds.
“No used cartridge was collected by the police party and deposited in the malkhana… none of the police officers in the said encounter sustained any injury.. nor their vehicles at the spot were damaged. Police concocted a false story and killed Harpal Singh,” Bains said.
He said Harpal’s body was also not handed over to his family and was illegally cremated as “unidentified” and “unclaimed”. “During the trial, the post-mortem report was presented and it revealed that Harpal was shot under his right eye and on his forehead from a distance of 3 metres.”
Harpal’s case was fought his sister-in-law Balwinder Kaur who had adopted him after his parents died. She said it was a long wait for her to get the justice.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Kaur said she did not have any child so she adopted Harpal Singh. She said she had gone to meet her daughter on the day police took away Hapral Singh. “He was present at his home. I later came to know that a police party came to our house and took Harpal with them. We went and enquired from many people and even went to meet senior police officers but nobody told about him. We did not know he was killed in the police encounter,” Kaur said.