The CBI nailed the police officers on the basis of post mortem examination report and injury marks on the bodies of the two victims, shown dead during the fake encounters.
According to the CBI charge sheet, skulls and brains of the two victims were badly damaged, suggesting that they were badly tortured.
While the rest of the two victims were never found. The youths were killed at a time when militancy was at its peak in Punjab. The case was handed over to CBI, which had filed two charge sheets against 24 accused, of whom 16 were let off.
Special CBI judge Kuldip Singh yesterday sentenced SP Ram Singh (retd) from Kapurthala, Inspector Ajit Singh (retd), Inspectors Ajaib Singh and Amrik Singh, and Sub Inspector Harbhajan Singh to life imprisonment.
A fine of Rs 8,500 each was also slapped on them. In the second case registered by the CBI, the court sentenced assistant Inspector Sukhwant Singh, and constables Rajinder Kumar and Nand Singh to life imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 6,500 each.
“Both the cases are interlinked since the accused ensured there were no witnesses to the crime. But the post mortem reports and other evidences helped the CBI nail their lie,” said H P S Verma, senior counsel for the victims’ family.
The case followed a petition in court by the parents of Rajwinder Singh, Mukhtiar Singh and Baljeet Singh — all of whom were policemen and undergoing training at Ladha Kothi, Sangrur.
The accused had connived to carry out fake encounters, including that of Baljeet Singh, while another police team declared Rajwinder Singh and Mukhtiar Singh as absconders who are still untraceable.
The CBI charge sheet claims the police had picked up Delhi-based Vijaypal and his associate from Delhi in connection with a bomb blast that took place in Kapurthala.
During interrogation, the two claimed the involvement of the three trainees in the blast.
Another police team, meanwhile, rounded up the three trainees.
The CBI charge sheet says, “On September 4, 1992, a police team headed by Ram Singh claimed to have come under attack (by militants) while they were shifting Vijaypal and his associate along with the three trainee policemen, who were named by Vijaypal in his alleged confessional statement to the police.”
The police team later claimed that during the crossfire, Baljeet Singh along with Vijaypal died on the spot, while Rajwinder Singh and Mukhtiar Singh escaped from police custody, never to be traced again.
The alleged attack had reportedly taken place near Kapurthala