Around 15 years after five members of a family committed suicide in Chowk Moni area here, the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Sandeep Singh Bajwa today held former DIG Kultar Singh (retd), serving DSP Hardev Singh Boparai and four relatives of the family guilty in the case.
Kultar Singh and Hardev Singh were posted as SSP (Amritsar city) and SHO (Division C police station), respectively, at the time. Besides, the court convicted victims’ relatives Sabreen, Mohinder Singh, Parminder Kaur and Palwinderpal Singh. Charges were framed against the accused in May 2016. The quantum of sentence would be pronounced on February 19.
Hardeep Singh, his wife Romy, their children Ishmeet (Imu) and Sanmeet (Sonu) and Hardeep’s mother Jaswant Kaur had committed suicide by consuming poison on the intervening night of October 30-31, 2004. Before the suicide, they had scribbled their plight on the wall of their house, accusing relatives and then SSP Kultar Singh of extortion and criminal intimidation that forced them to take the extreme step.
Public prosecutor Rittu Kumar said while Sabreen, Mohinder, Parminder Kaur and Palwinderpal Singh were convicted under Sections 306 (abetment to suicide), 388 (extortion) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC, Kultar Singh was held guilty under Sections 306, 388, 506, 465 (forgery) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).
Hardev Singh was convicted under Section 465, 471(forged document), 120-B, 119 (public servant concealing a design to commit an offence), 201 (disappearance of evidence) and 217 (public servant disobeying a direction of law).
The mass suicide had come to light after a maid reached the family’s house near the Golden Temple on October 31, 2004. The police had found writings on the wall of a room. Hardeep had wrote that these men claimed to be witnesses of the murder of his father, who was accidentally killed by Hardeep Singh. As per the suicide note, the accused extorted Rs 7.5 lakh from him and informed the police when he failed to pay Rs 3 lakh more. Hardeep had also accused a senior police officer of taking Rs 5 lakh from him.
Justice (retd) Ajit Singh Bains, patron of the Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO), who had sought trial against Kultar Singh and Hardev Singh besides a couple of other relatives in the case, termed the conviction justice for the deceased family.
The mass suicide by five of a family came to light on October 31, 2004. The police found writings on the room wall, alleging extortion by certain persons. The accused claimed to have witnessed accidental murder by one of the family members
Hardeep Singh was being blackmailed after he allegedly committed a crime. Fed up with repeated demands for money, he and his immediate family committed suicide in 2004. Though the local police registered a case, no one was taken into custody.
While an inquiry was pending against then SSP Kultar Singh in 2006, then Capt Amarinder government had recommended his case for President’s police medal for meritorious service. He was awarded the medal the same year