A curious case of two missing persons, two police reports and a missing service record

Kamaldeep Singh Brar
A curious case of two missing persons, two police reports and a missing service record

Inspector General of Police, Border Range, Surinderpal Singh on November 2 had marked inquiry into missing of case file related to Balwinder Singh, who was a Punjab Police constable when he was picked up by the police in 1993. 

Days after a trial court in Mohali convicting six former police officials in a case of disappearance of six members of a Tarn Taran family in early 90s, it has come to fore that Inspector General of Police, Border Range, Surinderpal Singh Parmar had marked an inquiry in November last year into missing of the case file related to one of the victims.

The IG on November 2 had marked inquiry into missing of case file related to Balwinder Singh, who was a Punjab Police constable when he was picked up by the police in 1993, when militancy was at its peak in state, allegedly to put pressure on his family to reveal the whereabouts of Baba Charan Singh, his father’s brother-in-law.

Punjab Police had picked up former Army man Charan Singh’s brothers Mej Singh, Kesar Singh and Gurdev Singh as well as his wife Surjit Kaur’s brother Gurmej Singh and latter’s son Balwinder. Charan Singh was also picked up later. None of them were seen alive after that.

Those convicted include former Inspector Suba Singh and former sub-inspectors Bikramjit Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Sukhdev Raj Joshi, Lakha Singh and Suba Singh.

During the pendency of the trial, Balwinder’s family had moved Punjab and Haryana High Court with a plea that Punjab Chief Security Advisor Khubi Ram be named an additional accused in abduction and and murder of the constable and his father. Later, the family told the court that they have reached a compromise with Khubi Ram and applied for death certificates of Balwinder and Gurmej in Tarn Taran district.

The high court, on a plea by Surjit Kaur, had handed over the probe into the disappearance of her six family members to the CBI in 1997. Punjab Police had told CBI that Balwinder on April 28, 1993 had confessed to have hidden 300 bullets, an AK-47 and six magazines near Munda Pind of Tarn Taran.

During the course of trial in the CBI court, prosecution demanded that the thumb impression on Balwinder’s confession statement be matched with the thumb impression on his service book.

The court then summoned Balwinder’s records, but Tarn Taran police informed that the file was missing. Following this, IG Parmar, on November 2 last year, directed SSP, Amritsar Rural, Vikramjeet Duggal to conduct an inquiry into the missing file and fix the responsibility.

Contacted, Duggal told The Indian Express that inquiry was still pending.

Even as this inquiry was on, Tarn Taran police conducted another inquiry - between December 2 and December 13, 2019 - and claimed that Balwinder and his father Gurmej went missing from home in April 1993 and nobody has seen them since then. Someone might have killed them.

However, this second inquiry report was in contradiction of Tarn Taran police’s submission during CBI probe where it had claimed that Balwinder, after confessing to hiding arms and ammunition, had escaped from police custody and was declared proclaimed offender.

Hence, police not only contradicted its own submission to CBI while giving a report to Tarn Taran deputy commissioner on December 13 last year that the father-son duohad went missing from their home, but it also overlooked the ongoing investigation into missing of records pertaining to Balwinder.

Police was also aware of the case pending in CBI court in Mohali in which verdict came on January 9.

Tarn Taran SSP Dhruv Dahiya didn’t make any statement despite repeated calls and questions sent to him over mobile phone.

IG Border Zone said that he had no knowledge about the status of inquiry marked by him and the parallel findings of Tarn Taran police about the father-son duo going missing from their home.

It may be noted that Tarn Taran police’s fresh finding on the disappearance of Balwinder and Gurmej came after family urged deputy commissioner to issue their death certificates. The family had asked for death certificates after reaching a compromise with Khubi Ram.