Chandigarh Police drawing flak from all quartersBy Jaideep Sarin, IANS
Sunday, January 9, 2011
CHANDIGARH - First failing to nab the murderers of a five-year-old and then overreacting to the natural death of Punjab’s acting advocate general’s mother-in-law, the Chandigarh Police is not surprisingly drawing flak from all quarters.
Khushpreet Singh, fondly called ‘Khushi’, was kidnapped from his home in Chandigarh’s Burail village Dec 21, 2010.
The family of Khushpreet, a kindergarten student of a private school here, paid a ransom of Rs.4 lakh to the kidnappers last month. However, the move to get the child back even after the ransom was paid misfired, thanks to the inept handling of the case by the Chandigarh Police.
The body of the child was Wednesday found on the Chandigarh-Mohali border, strangulated and battered to death. He was wearing the same school uniform in which he had been kidnapped two-weeks prior to that.
The Chandigarh Police had floundered the moment the victim’s uncle went to deliver the ransom in Punjab’s Kharar town, 20 km from here. They let the kidnappers easily slip away after collecting the money.
The news of the death led to angry residents of Burail village taking to streets, fighting pitched battles with the police and damaging vehicles and property for two days.
A 19-member team of police officers, led by a deputy superintendent of police and station house officer (SHO), were tracking the victim’s uncle when he went to deliver the ransom.
“A proper sketch of the kidnappers could not be made since people, including PCO booth owners, didn’t remember them distinctly,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (south division) Vijay Kumar, whose team is under fire for messing up the kidnapping which led to the child’s murder, said here.
Ironical as it may seem, the Chandigarh Police have announced a reward of Rs.5 lakh to anyone giving information about the kidnappers and murderers of the child. Earlier, the police had announced a reward of Rs.1 lakh for information on the kidnappers but got no clue.
Chandigarh’s home secretary Ram Niwas, who has ordered a magisterial probe into the kidnapping and murder of Khushpreet and the pitiful police handling of the case, has sought a daily report from the police top brass on the case and other sensational crimes in the city in recent months.
“The murder of Khushpreet has tarnished the image of the police. Public faith has to be restored. I am seeking daily updates in this and other important cases till the killers are caught,” the home secretary said.
Ironically, just a day after Khushpreet’s body was found, the Chandigarh Police had overreacted to the mysterious death of a 75-year-old woman, Gurbal Maninder Kaur, who was found dead in her house in Sector 21 here.
Since Kaur had two powerful sons-in-law, one a top bureaucrat in Punjab and the other the state’s acting advocate general, the police immediately registered a case which covered an entire gamut of crimes from trespassing, dacoity and sexual assault to murder.
Later, it turned out from the autopsy report that the woman had died of natural causes.
The investigative efficiency of the Chandigarh Police was again challenged for failing to resolve the murder of MBA student Neha Ahlawat, 22, in the city’s Sector 38-west, even six months after the murder took place.
In recent months, incidents of murders, snatchings, vehicle thefts and other crimes have also increased in the city.
(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)