“They flatly denied my request for information on how the investigation is progressing and told me to go to court if I wanted to know anything. They virtually dismissed me.”
Captain Kailash Kumar Shoree (retd), a 1971 war veteran, expressed his plight and disappointment after the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued notice to Punjab’s Bureau of Investigation (BoI) on 12 November to file a status report in his daughter, Neha Shoree’s, death.
On 29 March, Neha, who was a drug officer, was shot dead in her office by a man who was said to have been unlawfully issued a gun license during the imposition of the model code of conduct ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Dejected by the progress of the investigation, Captain Shoree said, “They asked me to go to court, so I did”.
The Long Wait
Speaking to The Quint about the notice issued by the high court, Captain Shoree said he is agitated at the pace of the investigation.
“The police always refused to divulge any information to me despite my giving them everything. Everything as in, information which are either private, secrets, pin codes and passwords. I gave them everything, but they never gave me anything,” he said.
The petition claims that the police have neither completed the investigation nor have they informed the family about its progress despite repeated pleas.
His agitation gives way to tears as he says, “The investigating agencies are treating me as a convict or criminal, that is the feeling I got. They were not telling me anything about the investigation.”
When The Quint asked the BoI if any arrests had been made in the case yet, they said, “No arrests could be made by BoI/SIT as the accused person who shot Mrs Neha Shoree shot himself immediately after the incident.”
Captain Shoree, however, believes that a drug mafia is behind her death.
“She was an honest officer and she was killed in her office because of that. Punjab is a border state and this is a matter of national security, the police needs to nab the accused.”
Neha’s Kin’s General Distrust Towards the Cops
Right from when Neha was killed, a theory floated was that she was killed due to personal enmity.
The man who killed Neha was identified as 49-year-old Balwinder Singh, who shot her and, after realising that he couldn’t run, killed himself as well. Singh’s licence to run a medical store was cancelled in 2009 when Neha was working on probation in the drug department. While the theory circulating is that it was this cancellation that led to Singh harboring a grudge against her for about a decade, her family refuses that this led to the murder.
Neha’s family says she did not have the authority to cancel licenses back then, adding that she was targeted by the drug mafia she was working against.
The weapon Singh used was issued on 11 March, a day after the model code of conduct was imposed. During this time, arms are safely delivered to the state to ensure there is no coercion.
“I went to the Kharrar tehsil court 10 times. I had to go to court for two things. Two inquiries are going on, one about the gun license given unlawfully during the model code of conduct. I wanted this report. The second was about the SIT’s status inquiry report,” says Captain Shoree.
Neha’s family says they also had to make several rounds of the court to get her purse, laptop and phone back.
As the memories of his daughter come back, Captain Shoree sounds inconsolable as he says, “In the mobile, there were contacts. We did not have everyone’s numbers. We used to tell her to tell us what the number was. And then, there are photographs of emotional value in the mobile. They refused giving everything.”
Lawyers have agreed that since the matter is under investigation, the police is not entitled to return the devices.
“I am pained that nothing has been done. This is like any woman can be killed and that is the level of lawlessness in this country. She was a brilliant girl. My daughter ensured I survived septicemia.”
In the responses to The Quint’s queries on Shoree’s allegations, the BoI said, “The family was briefed at every stage of the investigation numerous times by the BoI/SIT and also by the Home Department.”
The matter will next be heard on 20 December. The BoI has confirmed that they will submit a status report in the death.
“I want to know what the police has done, I am waiting for that day,” Shoree says, hoping it will help him get closure.
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