Almost 12 years after five members of a local family ended their lives, charges were framed against a retired DIG (then SSP) and a serving DSP (then SHO) in a local court here today.Hardeep Singh, his wife Romi, their children Imu and Sonu, and Hardeep’s mother had committed suicide by consuming poison in October 2004. In the suicide note and scribbling on a wall of their house, they had accused their relatives and the then SSP Kultar Singh of extortion and criminal intimidation that forced them to take the extreme step.The charges were framed under sections 306 (abetment to suicide), 388 (extortion) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code against Kultar Singh and four relatives of the deceased — Sabreen, Mohinder, Parminder Kaur and Palwinderpal Singh.The charges were also framed against the then SHO Hardev Singh and Kultar Singh under sections 466 (tampering with evidence), 471 (forging evidence), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 201 (destruction of evidence), and 119 and 217 (misuse of official powers) of the IPC.The suicides had come to light after a maid reached the family’s house in Chowk Moni near the Golden Temple on October 31, 2004. The police had found writings on the wall of a room, wherein Hardeep had accused certain persons of extorting money from him.In the writings, he had stated that these men claimed to be witnesses to some offence he had committed. 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.Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) legal adviser Sarbjit Singh Verka said, “It has taken 12 long years’ fight to get the charges framed against the two police officials. Finally, they will be tried for the crime.”He said the then SHO Hardev Singh, who was the investigating officer in the case, had fabricated and concealed evidence to save his senior (the then SSP).The PHRO had in October 2015 moved the trial court under Section 319 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), claiming that there was enough evidence on record for summoning the former SSP, along with the then SHO and two relatives of the deceased, Jaswinder Singh and Manmohan Singh, as the co-accused.
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