Six ex-Punjab cops convicted over disappearance of 6 Tarn Taran men 27 yrs ago

MOHALI, Jan 9: Six former Punjab police officials were on Thursday sentenced to varying jail terms ranging from two to ten years by a special CBI court here for their criminal liability and complicity in disappearance of six members of a family from Tarn Taran district 27 years ago during militancy days in the state.

Special Judge Karunesh Kumar sentenced the six former police officials after convicting them on various charges, including those of abduction for killing (s 364), kidnapping for illegal confinement (s 365) and disposal of dead body (s 318) under Indian Penal Code.

The convicted officials included former Inspector Suba Singh and former sub-inspectors Bikramjit Singh and Sukhdev Singh, who were sentenced to ten years each in jail, while another former sub-inspector, Sukhdev Raj Joshi, was awarded five-year jail term.

The special judge convicted former Sub Inspector Lakha Singh and former Assistant Sub-Inspector Suba Singh for the offence under S 318 of the IPC and sentenced them to two years in jail.

The duo, however, were released on probation on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 each.

While convicting the six former police officials, the court acquitted three others — former Deputy Superintendent of Police Gurmeet Randhawa, erstwhile Inspector Kashmir Singh and ex-SI Nirmal were acquitted, said Sarabjit Singh Verka, the counsel for the victims’ family.

According to the prosecution, Tarn Taran resident Baba Charan Singh, his three brothers Kesar Singh, Meja Singh and Gurdev Singh and brother-in-law Gurmej Singh and Gurmej’s son Balwinder Singh were picked by the police from different locations in the district in 1993 during militancy days in Punjab.

According to CBI’s findings, Charan Singh, Meja Singh, Gurdev Singh and Gurmej Singh were illegally detained after their abduction.

Police had shown Kesar Singh and Balwinder Singh as proclaimed offenders.

In 1994, Charan Singh’s wife Surjeet Kaur moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking a CBI probe into disappearance of her family members case, said Verka, adding the high court ordered a CBI probe in 1997.

After its probe, the CBI filed chargesheet in this case in 2001, indicting the nine police officials for their varying roles in the disappearance of the six Tarn Taran men.

The trial of the case, however, could not be taken up for many years due to the one accused or the other moving superior courts on one or the other ground and getting the trial stayed.

The trial began in the court after the Supreme Court, in May 2019, ordered that the trial of this case be finished within eight months, said the counsel. (PTI)