Holes in Punjab police’s encounter theory led to life sentences for ex-cops

Special CBI judge Harinder Sidhu observed while delivering the verdict, “Strangely, FIR No. 124/1990, in which Harbans Singh was being taken for recovery, was also closed by the police. It is also pointed out here that the case of sub-inspector Puran Singh was that pursuant to the recording of disclosure statement of Harbans Singh, the deceased, the police party had gone to the spot for recovery of arms and ammunition; but there is no document on record to show that after the death of Harbans Singh, the police party ever searched the place where the deceased had stated to have concealed the arms and ammunition.”

The court observed that had Puran Singh’s version been correct, he would have certainly searched the area in order to recover the concealed arms and ammunition or cordoned off the area. “No such thing was done by SI Puran Singh and thus it is clear that the entire version mentioned in the FIR No.28 dated April 15, 1993, is fabricated,” it said.

The CBI, which investigated the killing of Harbans Singh on the basis of a complaint lodged by his brother, had also presented the report of the ballistic expert who examined the AK-47 rifle allegedly recovered from near an unidentified body. It showed the rifle was not in a working condition as its pin was missing.

“The assertion of the defence counsel that the pin was intact at the time of the recovery and was missing as it turned rusty is sans any evidence whereas to the contrary it is proved that the said weapon was not in a working condition,” the court said.

The court thus sentenced Shamsher Singh, then a sub-inspector, and Jagtar Singh, then an assistant sub-inspector, to life imprisonment in the 29-year-old fake encounter case.

Puran Singh and another accused, assistant sub-inspector Jagir Singh, died during the trial.

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