Tarn Taran fake encounter: Former SHO sentenced to life imprisonment for staged killing 31 years ago

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New Delhi, Jun 7 (PTI) A special CBI court in Mohali sentenced a former police officer to life imprisonment on Friday for killing a fruit-seller in a staged encounter in Punjab's Tarn Taran district after abducting him from his residence in 1993, officials said.

Besides sentencing former station house officer (SHO) Gurbachan Singh to life imprisonment, the court also awarded a seven-year jail term to the then deputy superintendent of police (DSP), Tarn Taran city, Dilbagh Singh, who retired as the deputy inspector general (DIG) of police, under section 364 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) related to kidnapping, the officials said.

Gulshan Kumar was abducted from his residence on June 22, 1993, kept in illegal detention for a month and killed in a staged encounter on July 22 that year, the officials said.

The court found Dilbagh Singh and Gurbachan Singh, who retired as a deputy superintendent of police, guilty in the case. Three other chargesheeted police officers -- assistant sub-inspectors (ASIs) Arjun Singh and Devinder Singh, and sub-inspector (SI) Balbir Singh -- died during the trial.

The case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 1995 on the Supreme Court's orders. The federal agency filed its chargesheet in 1999. After 21 years, charges were framed against the accused on February 7, 2020.

During the trial, the CBI presented 32 witnesses, including eyewitnesses, who provided cogent evidence that Dilbagh Singh and Gurbachan Singh abducted Kumar from his house, kept him in illegal confinement and subsequently, killed him on July 22, 1993, a CBI spokesperson said in a statement.

"The evidence presented shows that the accused police officers staged the murder as an encounter, with testimonies and documents proving the false narratives created by the guilty police officials," he added.

Police cremated Kumar's body in Tarn Taran on July 22, 1993, without informing his family. PTI ABS RC