Case Studies of Cops Conviction in Punjab

It is not the severity of the punishment that acts as a deterrent.
It is its inevitability

It was a pleasant surprise for every justice loving citizen when one heard the news of the conviction of a senior police officer of Punjab police in a triple murder case. The Additional Sessions Judge, Patiala Mr.M.S.Chauhan, deserves commendation for an upright judgment sentencing four persons with life term holding them guilty of murdering three persons in a gruesome manner , which has proved the legal maxim that “justice must not only be done, it must appear to have been done”. It was indeed an uphill task in trying the case involving a senior most police officer of Punjab police under very hostile conditions. Convicting a Senior Police officer of Punjab police in a case of triple murder and sentencing him to life imprisonment in todays’ situation was not an easy task. The judgment has upgraded the esteem and honor of the law in the eyes of general public. It is no doubt a very upheaval decision knowing fully well that it will raise undercurrents in already charged atmosphere when tainted police officials are crying for immunity on frivolous ground. It has once again established that no body could escape from the arm of the law. It will definitely serve as an eye-opener for other policemen who consider themselves to be above the law.

Additional Director-General of Punjab Police, Mr.Daljit Singh Bhullar alongwith four of his accomplices were tried for the offence of murdering three persons in the intervening night of September 15-16, 1996, when the police recovered three charred bodies of Paramjit Singh Sahota, an Non-resident Indian, his driver Vikram Singh and another employee Satnam Singh in Ghaggar Majra village near Khanna on GT Road( District Ludhiana) in highly decomposed condition. It was proved that Paramjit Singh Sahota, an NRI Scientist, was a partner of the son of Mr.Daljit Singh Bhullar, Additional Director General of Punjab Police and Mr.Daljit Singh Bhullar and another partner Mr.Agyapal Singh Bath killed him alongwith his employee and a taxi driver, in order to wrest control over his business and wealth. Firstly, it was too difficult to nail such a senior police officer and it took full five years and eight months for the CBI in securing the conviction. The Punjab police had left no stone unturn to shield its officer and closed the case, but a CBI inquiry was ordered into the incident and the CBI succeeded in proving that the ADGP and his three accomplices, namely ASI Krishan Kumar, Agyapal Singh Bath, Ladwinder Singh and Sandeep Ohri’s had actually killed the trio in cold blood with the sole motive of snatching the property of the victims.

I am reminded of the words of a Sub-Inspector Balwant Singh Majitha, the then Station House Officer of Police Station Phase VIII, SAS Nagar, Mohali when he boasted that he had killed as many as twenty five persons and there were many cases pending against him, but no court has been able to nail him down. Rather he has been rewarded with out-of-turn promotion and the Presidents’ Gallantary medal. He had told me this, when he had illegally detained me in the Police Station during my visit to the station on the court orders to meet my client during police remand. He had threatened me that I would be the twenty sixth victim in the line and I would soon become a matter in the news. He was quite true on his words. On my enquiry after few days from the Punjab & Haryana High Court, there were at least twenty cases against this chap for eliminating innocent people in fake encounter or torture during illegal custody. But all the cases are eating dust in the thousands of almirahs lying in the dark corner of the High Court.

In this context, yet another notorious police officer, Inspector Budh Singh of Punjab police, who is accused of as many as twenty five cases of human rights violation beginning with illegal detention to rape and murder, what to say of corruption and dereliction in duty, needs to be talked of. In 1997, he was booked for stripping an old lady in front of his son in Bathinda CIA Staff and torturing her and her son. Later on he was booked for murder, but still got promoted to Indian Reserve Battallion as Inspector. Very recently, he has been arrested for smuggling drugs and narcotics in the area where he was posted.

Coming back to the main topic, it may be interesting to note that Mr. Daljit Singh Bhullar is the fifty first police officer of Punjab police convicted for murder or other crimes. It may be worth mentionable here that more than fifty cops of Punjab police have already been convicted by the courts for various human rights abuses including fake encounter, revenge killing and forced disappearance. Among the policemen awarded life sentence include, the then DSP Baldev Singh Sekhon of Taran Taran, convicted for murdering seven members of a family including a child and a woman for taking revenge in 1997, the then Inspector Gulzar Chand of Taran Taran for killing Kashmir Singh of Pandori Rukman village in Hoshiarpur district on March 14, 1997, the then Senior Superintendent of Police S.K.Singh and DSP Sukhdev Singh Chahal, convicted for murdering a couple in Calcutta on May 17,1993, Sub-Inspector Malwinder Singh Malhi of CIA Staff, Ropar, convicted for torturing and killing Devinder Singh alias Bhola in September, 1999. Inspector Sita Ram of Valtoha(District Amritsar) convicted for gruesome killing of Sarabjeet Singh alias Surjit Singh in the infamous case of killing a boy twice when he had gained consciousness in the postmortem table in the hospital mortuary and again shot dead from point blank range by Inspector Sita Ram. Interestingly, all these convictions were secured by the independent prosecuting agency, Central Bureau of Investigation on the directions of either the Supreme Court or the High Court. More than seven hundred and eighty police officers are facing more than one trial in the courts for heinous offences ranging from fake encounter, forced disappearance to custodial torture and illegal detention. There are more than thirty cases of fake encounter, abduction or disappearance of innocent persons at the hands of Punjab police pending trial in the court of Special CBI Court in Patiala. Ironically, almost all the undertrial police officers have been granted bail pending trial by the courts, even though similarly situated accused are coldly denied this benefit. Few policemen who have been convicted by the courts, are either taking “rest” in hospital on false medical ground or enjoying luxurious life while in jail. These days, many unprecedented decisions are being heard from the courts when the convicted policemen are granted bail pending appeal even in cases where the sentence is of life imprisonment. It has never happened that a murder convict is admitted to bail on the day of pronouncement of order, but the convicted policemen of Punjab police usually get such favours.

To deny it would be a great folly that almost every case where the men of Punjab police have been booked or convicted, the offence had no relation with the militants and the victims were eliminated to settle personal score or for greed of money, as in the present case of ADGP Daljit Singh Bhullar. It is more disturbing that the prosecuting agency in every case where the policemen were convicted was the CBI. It speaks volume of shady investigation of the State agency. Firstly, it is not possible to get an F.I.R. against the rogue policemen. The state police flately refuse to register any first information report against its men and if any court or senior authoritt orders the registration of the case against their men, the case is so weakly prepared that it usually results in the acquittal of the accused. In plain words, the policemen leave no stone unturn to save their men accused of even heinous crimes. Still, if the tierless efforts of the victims’ family and the CBI succeed in securing conviction of the guilty from the court, a war of words is started and the judiciary and the human rights activists are blamed and illegal and unwarranted demand for granting immunity to the tainted policemen is raised on the ground that, “ they fought an army of terrorists for protecting the security and integrity of the nation”. Few tainted police officials of Punjab police have even threatened to return their gallantary medals to the President of India if the cases of human rights violations registered against them were not withdrawn. Two ex-police chiefs of the Punjab police have strenuously argued in favour of the guilty police officials that nothing done in good faith and in due discharge of official duty, should be taken to court and such police officials should be protected by the State. It is an absurd argument from a bull in China shop. Nobody is really interested in getting upto the real question, that under which law the acts of brutality and barbarities committed by the very protectors of law could be condoned ? How could agree to grant immunity to Mr.D.S.Bhullar and his accomplices if tomorrow they may seek similar favour in the name of containing terrorism knowing fully well that they had done killed three innocent persons in a most gruesome manner only for wresting their wealth?

Ist Case:

Surinder Kaur Vs Dilbagh Singh and others

Date of Decision: January 11, 2002

Court: Mr.Lakhbir Singh, Additional Sessions Judge, Chandigarh-India
List of accused:

1.Then Assistant Commandant, BSF, Dilbagh Singh
2.Then, Sepoy Om Parkash, BSF
3.Then, Sepoy Jagdish, BSF
4.Then,Lans Naik Mohan Lal, BSF
5.Then, Constable Mange Khan,BSF
6.Then, Sub-Inspector Jaimal Singh, Station House Officer, P.S.Sadar,
Pathankot, District Gurdaspur of Punjab Police
7.Then, head Constable Kuldip Singh, P.S. Sadar,Pathankot, Distt.Gurdaspur.
8.Then, Constable Mukhtiar Singh, P.S.Sadar, Pathankot, Distt.Gurdaspur.
9.Then, Head Constable Joginder Singh, P.S. Sadar, Pathankot, Distt.Gurdaspur
10.Then, Constable Sukhwinder Singh, P.S.Sadar,Pathankot, Distt.Gurdaspur

In a case of judicial victory, Surinder Kaur, a widow of Sube Singh, resident of village Talwandi, District Gurdaspur(Punjab-India) succeeded on January 11, 2002 in getting seven policemen convicted for the killing of his husband in fake encounter and sentencing them to life imprisonment and a fine of Rupees Two hundred and fifty only each.

Sube Singh, a 35 years old married Sikh sports teacher of village Talwandi in District Gurdaspur was leading a peaceful life till October 2, 1984. He never remained associated with any political or militancy movement. On October 2, 1984, when Sube Singh had come to his house after completing his duty in the afternoon, he had told his wife that he had gone to the room of Constable Mukhtar Singh in Police Station Dinanagar, in Pathankot and when he opened the door of his room, he saw one Jaspal Singh of the village tied from the legs, mouth and hands and the policemen surrounding him in the room. On seeing this, he had returned back immeidately from that room. On his way back, he met Constable Mukhtar Singh, who got anxious on knowing that Sube Singh had come from his room. At about 5 p.m. Constable Mukhtar Singh, came to his house and asked him to accompany him to Police Station Dinanagar, in Pathankot, as the Station House Officer, wanted to meet him. His wife and other family members were present in the house at that time. Mukhtar Singh being a friend of Sube Singh, Sube Singh went with him. When Sube Singh did not return for long, his wife and elder son went to the room of Mukhtar Singh and when they were on the G.T.Road at the turning of the street, they saw a police jeep standing there. Sube Singh and Jaspal Singh were in handcuffs in that jeep. Sub-Inspector Jaimal Singh, the then Station House Officer, Constable Mukhtar Singh, Head Constable Kuldip Singh, driver of the jeep, alongwith two other policemen were forcibly making Sube Singh and Jaspal Singh sit in the jeep. Sube Singh was telling them that he will not tell the fact of Jaspal Singhs’ detention to anybody and he be set at liberty. Jaimal Singh remarked “Tun Sadian Jaran vich Kal Nu Baithenga”( Tomorrow you will bring us into trouble). Thereafter both Sube Singh and Jaspal Singh were taken in the jeep by the police party towards Pathankot side. Surinder Kaur, the wife of Sube Singh and her elder son went to the Police Station Dinanagar, from where they came to know that driver Sukhjinder Singh was recently transferred from Dinanagar Police Station to Police Station Sadar, Pathankot and Mukhtar Singh was also recently posted there and the whole party in the jeep was of Police Station Sadar, Pathankot and not of Dinanagar. The next day, i.e. October 3, 1984, Surinder Kaur and her family members including her eleder son went to Police Station Sadar Pathankot where they tried to meet Constable Mukhtar Singh in order to know the whereabouts of Sube Singh but in vain. In the meantime, the same jeep came in the Police Station. Sub-Inspector Jaimal Singh, Constable Mukhtar Singh and other Police officials were sitting in it. She tried to meet Constable Mukhtiar Singh but he refused to meet her. After some time, these officials went away in the jeep. After some more time, the wife of the victim and her son came to know that hip joint of Sube Singh was fractured due to severe torture by the policemen during the earlier night at Shahpur Kandi and the Police officials had approached the Senior Superintendent of Police and Commandant Border Security Force, Gurdaspur for further action. She and her son rushed to Gurdaspur and went to the headquarter of the Border Security Force, Gurdaspur. At about 5 p.m. when they were waiting to meet Commandant of Border Security Force, the same jeep came, in which S.I. Jaimal Singh, Head Constable Kuldip Singh, Constable Mukhtar Singh,Driver Sukhjinder Singh and two other policemen were sitting. The jeep stopped near the BSF officers Mess. Sube Singh was bodily lifted and was kept in the officers Mess. S.I.Jaimal Singh went inside the residence of the Commandant of BSF and after few minutes came back and thereafter went away in the same jeep. After sometime, Assistant Commandant BSF, Dilbagh Singh, Lans Naik Om Parkash and Jagdish Singh came to the Mess alongwith the Commandant BSF, Sharma. They started beating Sube Singh. When his cries were heard by his wife and son, hey rushed towards the officers mess, but were stopped at the gate by the armed Santry. They started crying loudly seeking mercy for her husband. The Commandant on hearing her voice, came out and asked about the matter. She pleaded with him that the detainee is her husband and he should be spared. Commandant remarked, “Eh te Sala Atwadi Hai”( The bastard is a terrorist). He threatened them to go away or be ready to meet severe consequences. She, her son and her father went away out of fear and sat under the Mini tree in a plot from where everything was visible. At about 9.10 p.m. one Matador of BSF came near Officers Mess. Lans Naik Mohan Lal and two other constables were present in the vehicle. They went inside the mess. Assistant Commandant Dilbagh Singh, Om Parkash, Jagdish Singh, Mohan Lal and Mange Khan bodily lifted Sube Singh and put him in that vehicle. After holding some conversation with the Commandant Sharma, Dilbagh Singh and others sat in the vehicle and went towards the border side. All this was seen by the wife and son of Sube Singh in the light of the street light in the premises of the Officers Mess. After taking the victim Sube Singh to the border in the area of village Kamalpur, the above officers of the BSF made a false encounter and by placing Sube Singh on the ground shot him dead. Before he was killed, his hip joint was already fractured by the policemen. To cover up their misdeed, Dilbagh Singh made a false report and lodged F.I.R. No.165 of 1984 in Police Station Kalanaur, stating that an un-identified terrorist has been killed in the cross-fire when he opened fire on the police party after being cornered. The next day, they learnt that one dead body was brought to the Civil Hospital, Gurdaspur for postmortem examination by the Police. Before they could see the dead body, it was cremated by the police. Relatives of the victim continued searching for Sube Singh and they came to know that after shooting him at Kamalpur, the photographs of the dead body were kept by the Police at Police Station Kalanaur and it was identified as that of Sube Singh. It was alleged by the victims family that the above named police officials connived with the BSF personnel with the common object and intention to murder Sube Singh only to eliminate the evidence of Jaspal Singhs’ illegal detention at Dinanagar Police Station and Sube Singh had seen Jaspal Singh, whom the Police wanted to finish. Jaspal Singh was also killed on the intervening night of October 3-4, 1984 in a fake encounter, by a police party headed by SI Jaimal Singh, Head Constable Kuldip Singh, Head Constable Joginder Singh, Constable Mukhtar Singh and other policemen.

The wife of the victim, Surinder Kaur approached many Senior Police authorities, and administrative functionaries, but the police refused to register any case in the matter, because Punjab Police officers were involved in the crime. Inspite of finding it too difficult to make her both ends meet, she filed a Criminal Complaint against Seven BSF officials and three Punjab police officials in the Court of Judicial Magistrate, Gurdaspur in November 1985. She also filed a Civil Suit for damages against the said officials for killing her husband in an extra-judicial manner, before the Civil Judge, Gurdaspur.

The Judicial Magistrate, Gurdaspur after satisfying himself from the Complainant’s(Surinder Kaur) evidence, summoned the above named officers to appear and stand trial for the crime in 1985. But since all the accused being police officers, they evaded the process of law and summons could not be served upon them till 1991. One accused Sub-Inspector Jaimal Singh, the then S.H.O. of P.S.Kahnuwan, Distt.Gurdaspur failed appear before the Court inspite of serving in the police force. He was consequently declared Proclaimed Offender by the Court in 1985 and remained a P.O. till 1997. During this period, he remained in the service of Punjab police and secured many undue rewards and got promoted to the rank of Superintendent of Police although, he was declared a Proclaimed Offender in Court record. Another accused, Head Constable Sukhwinder Singh of Police Station Kahnuwan, District Gurdaspur fled from the country and got settled in Canada. Later on he was also declared a Proclaimed Offender. Two other accused, Mukhtiar Singh and Joginder Singh expired during the trial of the case.

In 1988, the accused policemen approached the Punjab & Haryana High Court seeking transfer of their cases(both criminal and civil) to some court outside Punjab on the plea that they fear of militants in Punjab. The hidden motive of the accused was to cause maximum possible harassment to the Complainant-lady and get the case delayed. The High Court inspite of being opposed by the Complainants counsel, transferred the cases from Gurdaspur to Chandigarh in 1988. When all the allurements and intimidation given to the Complainant by those accused policemen failed, they went to the High Court thrice thereafter on one ground or the other so as to delay the trial. While huge state funds were provided to the accused policemen from the secret fund established by the Punjab police on the directions of the then Director-General of Punjab Police, K.P.S.Gill, the Complainant was provided free legal aid by Amar Singh Chahal and Arunjeev Singh Walia, the President and General Secretary of the Lawyers For Human Rights International, respectively. The Complainant, inspite of being a poor lady, attended every hearing of the case by travelling about 300 kilometres throughout the trial which got prolonged to more than sixteen years.

The then Superintendent of Police, Jaimal Singh was got arrested by the Complainant after his retirement in 1997 and he remained in jail for more than nine months. Other accused, except the two dead and one fugitive, got bails from the trial court, although its very difficult for an accused of murder to get bail during trial.

The Court of Civil Judge, Chandigarh allowed the civil suit of the Complainant Surinder Kaur against the accused policemen and awarded a compensation of Rupees Two lacs. The amount was enhanced to Rupees Two lacs sixty eight thousand, by the District & Sessions Judge, Chandigarh in an appeal filed by the Complainant in 2001. Even that amount was not paid by the State government and the executing court had no option but to attach the salaries of the Punjab Government in July 2001. Later on a part of the said amount was paid by the State government, but more than Rupees One lac remains to be paid to the Complainant.

The Criminal complaint was fought by the Complainant herself through her counsel till the framing of the additional charge under Section 302/149 etc. Thereafter, when the charge was framed, as per the requirement of law, the public prosecutor of State of Punjab was appointed to assist the court in the prosecution of the accused police officers. The case filed in November 1984, was transferred to Chandigarh in 1988 ended after a prolonged trial of more than sixteen years, on January 11, 2002. The Additional Sessions Judge, Chandigarh Mr. Lakhbir Singh held all the seven policemen guilty of murder of Sube Singh in a fake encounter and sentenced all of them to Life Imprisonment and a fine of Ruppes two hundred and fifty each and in default of the deposit of the fine, another imprisonment for a period of 15 days. All the seven accused were arrested and sent to judicial custody after their bail bonds were forfeited by the Court on the conclusion of the trial. The convicts plan to file appeal against their conviction in the High Court shortly.
DEFENCE VERSION:-
Taking a defence that the victim Sube Singh was killed in an encounter near the Indo-Pak border on October 3, 1984, the accused policemen said that they killed him being a terrorist only in self defence as he had fired upon them when cornered by the police party. They argued before the Court that the First Information Report lodged by them with the Police Station regarding the encounter has not been challenged by the Complainant and that F.I.R. is correct one. Another argument of the defence was that the identity of the intruder killed in the encounter could not be established by the Complainant as being her husband.
RARE THINGS IN THE CASE;-

The present case is a rare case for many reasons. Firstly, it is the only successful case where the Complainant herself has secured conviction of the accused policemen in a fake encounter case. Generally, since the offence of murder or abduction, being an offence against the State, the State or the C.B.I. prosecutes the accused, but in this case, the State government refused to prosecute the officers. Secondly, it is also a case where no sanction of the State or Central Government was obtained before prosecuting the police officials, because the accused had not committed the offence in due discharge of their official duty, a ground usually taken by the accused policemen in all cases of fake encounters or summary executions in Punjab. Another interesting aspect of the matter in the present case is that most of the policemen could not be traced by the trial court for more than six years in 1985 till 1991 inspite of the fact that they were present on their duty in the police department. The co-accused Jaimal Singh, inspite of being promoted and serving at the post of Superintendent of Police in Punjab Police was declared a fugitive and could not be arrested till his retirement in 1997. It depicts a sorry state of police apathy where a fugitive is allowed to serve on the senior most position of a Superintendent of Police in Punjab police during the peak of militancy in the State. The case is also a rare case from the angle that all the accused policemen remained in service during the period of their trial. Generally, service rules prescribe suspension during the trial of the case and dismissal from service in case the employee is held guilty. Another interesting thing is that the officers of the Punjab Police, who boast of fighting bravely with the terrorists in a war like situation in Punjab, sought the transfer of their case from Punjab to outside the State on the ground of fear of militants. If they are brave enough to fight militants, why did they seek the transfer of their trial outside the State, when they could easily intimidate or purchase the witnesses or even use their influence over the judicial system in Punjab.

Legal experts on human rights analyse the judgment as another landmark judgment in the era of human rights protection. It has been rightly re-established, that in a case of extra-judicial killing, the onus of proving innocence shifts upon the accused, whereas in ordinary criminal law, the onus to prove guilt rests upon the person alleging it. The present case speaks volume of a gross violation of human right to life of an innocent school teacher, Sube Singh, who was liquidated in an extra-judicial manner in a fake encounter by the Police in the garb of fighting terrorism in Punjab. It is a clear evidence in support of the argument of human rights organisations in Punjab that the security forces killed more innocent people then the actual militants in the garb of fighting terrorism, during the peak days of militancy in Punjab.

2nd Case:

CBI Vs ADGP Daljit Singh Bhullar & others

Date of Decisioin: August 3, 2001
Court: Mr.S.N.Aggarwal, Sessions Judge, Patiala (Punjab-India)
List of Accused:

1.Daljit Singh Bhullar, the then Additional Director General of Police, Punjab
2.Agyapal Singh Bath
3.Ladwinder Singh
4.Krishan Kumar, the then Assistant Sub-Inspector
5.Sandeep Ohri

The Conviction of four persons including a Senior Police officer of Punjab police in a case of triple murder by the Sessions Court at Patiala (Punjab) on Saturday, the 3rd August, 2001 has raised undercurrents in police circles. It has once again called in question the excesses committed by the uniformed men in the past.

Additional Director-General of Punjab Police, Mr.Daljit Singh Bhullar alongwith four of his accomplices had been accused of murdering three persons in September 1996. On the ill-fated intervening night of September 15-16, 1996, the police recovered three charred bodies of Paramjit Singh Sahota, an Non-resident Indian, his driver Vikram Singh and another employee Satnam Singh in Ghaggar Majra village near Khanna on GT Road( District Ludhiana) in highly decomposed condition. It was learnt that Paramjit Singh Sahota, an NRI Scientist, was a partner of the son of Mr.Daljit Singh Bhullar, Additional Director General of Punjab Police and Mr.Daljit Singh Bhullar and another partner Mr.Agyapal Singh Bath got him killed in order to wrest control over his business and wealth. The Punjab police shielded its officer and closed the case, but the then Chief Minister of Punjab Mrs. Rajinder Kaur Bhattal ordered a CBI inquiry into the incident and the CBI succeeded in finding enough proof of the ADGP and his three accomplices, namely ASI Krishan Kumar, Agyapal Singh Bath, Ladwinder Singh and Sandeep Ohri’s involvement in the abduction and cold blooded murder of the three persons with the sole motive of snatching the property of the victims.

From the day of the trial before the Sessions Court at Patiala, the ADGP Bhullar remained in hospital on false medical grounds and did not stay in the jail premises for even a day. He was later on granted bail by the Court on medical grounds. The trial continued for five years. He remained in service during this period, contrary to the service rules that any public servant remaining in judicial custody for more than 48 hours must be suspended. He was held guilty of criminal conspiracy, murder and destruction of evidence under Section 302/34,120-B, 427, 471 of Indian Penal Code and finally sentenced to life imprisonment alongwith three others namely Agyapal Singh Bath, Ladwinder Singh and ASI Krishan Kumar and also directed to pay a compensation of Rs.30,000/- to the widow of the deceased taxi driver Vikram Singh. The Sessions Judge, Mr.S.N.Aggarwal, giving benefit of doubt acquitted another accused Sandeep Ohri.

While the other four accused were sent to Central Jail, Patiala, Mr.D.S.Bhullar again got himself admitted to the Intensive Coronary Care Unit of Rajindra Hospital, Patiala on the ground of his ailing health and is at present enjoying health in the hospital.

It may be interesting to note that Mr. Daljit Singh Bhullar is the fifty first police officer of Punjab police convicted for murder or other crimes. It may be worth mentionable here that more than fifty cops of Punjab police have already been convicted by the courts for various human rights abuses including fake encounter, revenge killing and forced disappearance. Among the policemen awarded life sentence include, the then DSP Baldev Singh Sekhon of Taran Taran, convicted for murdering seven members of a family including a child and a woman for taking revenge in 1997, the then Inspector Gulzar Chand of Taran Taran for killing Kashmir Singh of Pandori Rukman village in Hoshiarpur district on March 14, 1997, the then Senior Superintendent of Police S.K.Singh and DSP Sukhdev Singh Chahal, convicted for murdering a couple in Calcutta on May 17,1993, Sub-Inspector Malwinder Singh Malhi of CIA Staff, Ropar, convicted for torturing and killing Devinder Singh alias Bhola in September, 1999. More than seven hundred and eighty police officers are facing trial in the court for many heinous offences ranging from fake encounter, forced disappearance to custodial torture and illegal detention or other crimes. There are more than thirty cases of fake encounter, abduction or disappearance of innocent persons at the hands of Punjab police pending trial in the court of Special CBI Court in Patiala. Ironically, almost all the undertrial police officers have been granted bail pending trial by the courts, even though similarly situated accused are coldly denied this benefit. Few policemen who have been convicted by the courts, are either taking “rest” in hospital on false medical ground or enjoying luxurious life while in jail.

It would be great folly to deny that almost every case where the men of Punjab police have been booked or convicted, the offence had not even remote relation with the militants and the victims were eliminated to settle personal score or for greed of money, as in the present case of ADGP Daljit Singh Bhullar. It is more disturbing that the prosecuting agency in every case where the policemen were convicted was the CBI. It speaks volume of shady investigation of the State agency. Firstly, it is not possible to get an F.I.R. against the rogue policemen. The state police flatly refuse to register any first information report against its men and if any court or senior authority orders the registration of the case against their men, the case is so weakly prepared that it usually results in the acquittal of the accused. In plain words, the policemen leave no stone unturn to save their men accused of even heinous crimes. Still, if the efforts of the victims’ family and the CBI succeed in securing conviction of the guilty from the court, a war of words is started and the judiciary and the human rights activists are blamed and illegal and unwarranted demand for granting immunity to the tainted policemen is raised on the ground that, “ they fought an army of terrorists for protecting the security and integrity of the nation”. Few tainted police officials of Punjab police have even threatened to return their gallantry medals to the President of India if the cases of human rights violations registered against them were not withdrawn. Two ex-police chiefs of the Punjab police have strenuously argued in favour of the guilty police officials that nothing done in good faith and in due discharge of official duty, should be taken to court and such police officials should be protected by the State. It is an absurd argument from a bull in China shop. Nobody is really interested in getting upto the real question, that under which law the acts of brutality and barbarities committed by the very protectors of law could be condoned ? How could agree to grant immunity to Mr.D.S.Bhullar and his accomplices if tomorrow they may seek similar favour in the name of containing terrorism knowing fully well that they had done killed three innocent persons in a most gruesome manner only for wresting their wealth?