The Inside Story
Hoshiarpur, May 9
It’s justice at last for 98-year-old Parkash Kaur, the younger sister of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Nearly 25 years after her son-in-law’s brother Kuljeet Singh Dhatt was allegedly killed by five Punjab Police personnel in Hoshiarpur district, Additional Sessions Judge Poonam R Joshi today convicted three of them in the case. The court sentenced them to five-year imprisonment, besides imposing a fine of Rs 2.1 lakh each. Two other accused have already died.

Kuljit Singh Dhatt was abducted by the police from Ambala Jattan village on July 23, 1989, along with five others. While others were released, there was no news about Kuljit Singh Dhatt.

Kuljit’s brother Harbhajan was the son-in-law of martyr Bhagat Singh’s sister Parkash Kaur. After Kuljit’s abduction, people held protests seeking his release. Two days later, the police registered an FIR at the Tanda police station stating that Kuljit was arrested at a check point on the intervening night of July 25 and 26 in 1989.

It was stated in the FIR that he had confessed to having hidden a load of weapons and ammunition on the banks of the Beas. When the police took him to the spot for the recovery of weapons, he broke the chain and jumped into the river. Later on, another FIR was lodged in which it was recorded that Kuljit was seen during a firing incident in an area under the Tanda police station. Parkash Kaur and deceased’s wife moved the Supreme Court, which constituted an inquiry commission headed by retired Sessions judge HL Randev in September 1990.

In 1993, the commission submitted its report indicting five policemen-then SP (operations) SPS Basra, Dasuya DSP AS Sandhu, Dasuya SHO Jaspal Singh, Tanda SHO Sardul Singh and Garhdiwala chowki in charge Sita Ram-for abducting and eliminating Dhatt.

The SC later ordered registration of a case against the accused policemen. They were booked for criminal conspiracy, abduction and illegal confinement. Parkash Kaur again moved the SC and after the SC rap, the FIR was amended and Sections 364 (abduction with the motive of murder), 365, 466, 218, 201 and 120-B of the IPC were added. The accused moved the high court, seeking quashing of the FIR.

The case remained pending in the high court for more than 14 years. Canada-based Parkash Kaur moved the Supreme Court, seeking early hearing.

The court today convicted SPS Basra, Jaspal Singh and Sita Ram. Sardul Singh and AS Sandhu have already died. Aditional District Attorney TS Grewal said, “The court sentenced the accused to five-year rigorous imprisonment under Section 364 of the IPC, besides imposing a fine of Rs 1 lakh each. They were also awarded five-year term and a fine of Rs 1 lakh each under Section 120B of the IPC and two-year term and a fine of Rs 10,000 each under Section 218 of the IPC. Out of the each fine amount of Rs 1 lakh, Rs 90,000 will be paid to the deceased’s family as compensation. The jail terms will run concurrently.”

Expressing dissatisfaction over the sentence, Dhatt’s brother Harbhajan Singh said, “After 25 years of legal battle, we have received no justice. The sentence awarded by the court is not sufficient and we will move the high court for the enhancement of the sentence.”

Victim was Bhagat Singh’s relative

  • Kuljeet Singh Dhatt, brother of the son-in-law of Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s younger sister Parkash Kaur, was allegedly abducted in Hoshiarpur district by the Punjab Police in 1989; he did not return thereafter
  • The court on Friday convicted three out of five accused police personnel and awarded them jail term; two other police personnel accused in the case are dead
  • An FIR against Dhatt said he had confessed to having hidden a load of weapons and ammunition on the banks of the Beas and that he jumped into the river when he was taken to the spot to recover weapons
Thanks To: