Bhatinda, Punjab: A Bhatinda Court on Friday held eleven Punjab Police officers guilty of killing a fireman deployed at an ammunition depot in Bathinda Cantt in a fake encounter 22 years ago.
Additional Sessions Judge MPS Pahwa held eleven policemen guilty of killing thirty year-old Paramjit Singh. The quantum of sentence would be pronounced on 14 January 2014.
Of the eleven accused, eight were present in the court and were sent to jail. While two policemen died during the course of hearing, one is a proclaimed offender.
A resident of Guru Gobind Singh Nagar, Paramjit Singh was taken away by the Police from outside his father’s flourmill near Bibiwala Chowk on 17 July 1992. The Police claimed that Paramjit Singh was a terrorist who had escaped during an encounter three months ago in which his aide was killed. Paramjit Singh was also accused of firing at the Police with an AK-47 rifle.
“The cops didn’t pay heed to Paramjit Singh, who even showed his Army identity card,” said complainant’s counsel Gurjeet Sidhu.
Paramjit Singh’s family was given an assurance that he would released after a house search. The Police, however, didn’t conduct any search and instead took Paramjit Singh to a spot near Balluana village at 9.30 pm on 17 July 1992 to locate hidden weapons, said Sidhu.
The Police claimed it came under heavy fire by a group of terrorists at the site and Paramjit Singh managed to escape taking the cover of darkness. Paramjit Singh, who went missing since then, was declared as dead subsequently.
The family said it made numerous representations to the then Bathinda SSP but to no avail. The family moved the High Court in 1994, accusing the police of killing Paramjit Singh in a fake encounter.
In 1996, the High Court marked a judicial inquiry to District Sessions Judge, Bathinda. The court submitted its report and found the Police version doubtful. In 1999, 11 cops were booked for murder under Section 302 of the IPC.
“After years of wait, shuttling between various courts and spending more than Rs 76 lakh on litigation,” we have finally got justice, said the family after the verdict.
The case was pursued by Paramjit SIngh’s father Gurdit Singh and then by his brother Baljeet Singh.
“The crusade of my father against injustice has finally been successful,” said Baljeet Singh.
Paramjit Singh’s lawyer said during cross-examination, the cops could not prove their claims. The accused failed to reply satisfactorily to questions on how no policeman was injured in heavy firing, how Paramjit Singh managed to escape from their custody despite being handcuffed to the waist of one of the officers and what was the need of taking an accused at 9.30 in the night to a spot to recover a hidden weapon.
Source: India News