Punjab

Four Punjab policemen involved in Jalandhar Bishop robbery case dismissed from service

Punjab News Express | August 11, 2019 09:07 PM

CHANDIGARH, AUGUST 11: Based on the findings of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the Jalandhar missing money case, Punjab Police have dismissed three Assistant Sub Inspectors and one Head Constable for their alleged involvement in the embezzlement of the money, recovered from FMJ House, Jalandhar.

The SIT was set up to probe the case following a complaint given by Father Anthony Madassary to Commissioner of Police Jalandhar about the missing money.

A police department spokesperson said that the three ASIs namely Joginder Singh, Rajpreet Singh,Dilbagh Singh and Head Constable Manjit Singh had been dismissed from service on August 10, 2019. Investigations into the role of other officials of Khanna police is under way and a comprehensive report in this regard would be submitted by the SIT shortly.

Taking cognisance of media reports on April 1, 2019, the DGP constituted a SIT headed by the then IGP/Crime Praveen K. Sinha, with Commissioner of Police Jalandhar Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP Patiala Mandeep Singh as Members and AIG State Crime Rakesh Kaushal as Members and Investigating Officer (IO). The SIT under took day-to-day investigations and brought evidence on record to unravel the complete case and ensure that all the persons involved in the crime, as well as those who assisted in any way, were brought to book and put to trial.

Following the enquiry and FIR No. 1 registered at Police Station, Punjab State Crime, SAS Nagar, the spokesperson revealed that based on secret information regarding hawala transactions and recycling of CSR funds by persons associated with Father Anthony and FMJ House, Jalandhar, Khanna Police launched a decoy operation. Policemen in plain clothes and in uniform participated in the operation which led to seizure of huge amount of cash from FMJ House, Pratappura in Jalandhar district at around 4:30 pm on March 28, 2019.

The recovered cash was brought to Khanna in two different vehicles. One vehicle was under the charge of Insp. Gurdeep Singh, the then SHO, Malaud, district Khanna. The second part of the seized cash was in another vehicle in which ASI Joginder Singh No. 1131/PTL, ASI Rajpreet Singh No. 661/PTL along with private decoy Surinder Singh were present.

At CIA, Khanna, Officials from the Income Tax department and Directorate of Revenue Enforcement were also involved in investigating the source of the funds as well as in counting of the recovered cash. The recovered cash amounting to Rs. 9.66 Cr. was taken into possession by the Income Tax authorities for launching of financial investigations at their end.

In his enquiry, the IGP Crime concluded that that while all the cash recovered by Inspector Gurdeep Singh was safely brought to CIA, Khanna, a major portion of the recovered cash in the other vehicle had been misappropriated by the three persons in that car. The exact amount of misappropriated cash could not be determined in the enquiry as Father Anthony could not submit sufficient proof for the cash available at FMJ House, Jalandhar, when the raid took place and the missing amount as claimed in the complaint of Father Anthony to Commissioner of Police Jalandhar on March 31, 2019 and the statement recorded during enquiry of IGP, Crime, Punjab, were at variance with each other.

The SIT examined the entire matter and divided the investigation into three parts - Investigations into misappropriation of cash by Police officials and recovery of the same, Financial investigation into the dealings of FMJ House, Jalandhar particularly regarding allegations of recycling of CSR funds and the presence of middle men (dalaals) at FMJ, House, Jalandhar when the raid was conducted; and Investigation into the conduct of officials of Khanna Police in the whole operation.

Regarding Investigation into misappropriation of cash by Police officials and recovery of the same, the spokesperson pointed out that this part of the investigation has been largely completed by the SIT. After registration of the case, accused Surinder Singh was arrested on April 17, 2019. Based on his interrogation, ASI Dilbag Singh, who had assisted the other accused by providing his vehicle to transport the embezzled cash was arrested on April 24, 2019. The other two main accused, namely ASI Joginder Singh No. 1131/PTL, ASI Rajpreet Singh No. 661/PTL, had gone underground on April 07, 2019 and were evading arrest. It was learnt by the SIT that they had travelled to Nepal, Delhi, Ghaziabad, etc. while trying to evade arrest and stay under the radar. The SIT used latest investigating techniques to finally trace these two accused and was successful in pining them down at a particular hotel in Forte Kochi on April 30, 2019. With the help of Kerala police, the two accused were apprehended at Kochi on April 30, 2019 and a team led by IGP, Crime, Punjab arrested the two accused at Kochi on May 1, 2019.

Out of the total recovery of Rs 4.57 crores, Rs 2.36 crores were recovered from ASI Rajpreet Singh, Rs. 2.21 crore from ASI Joginder Singh.

As per as the Financial Investigation into the dealings of FMJ, the total embezzled amount was to the tune of Rs. 5.70 Cr, whereas the total recovery by SIT so far has been slightly over Rs. 4.57 Cr. However, Father Anthony has not been able to provide convincing proof to the SIT regarding the presence of the total amount claimed by him as also why initially he had claimed that the missing amount was Rs. 6.66 Cr. This aspect of the investigation is still undergoing and connected with the financial investigation.

As far as, the Financial investigation into the dealings of FMJ House, Jalandhar, particularly regarding allegations of recycling of CSR funds and the presence of middle men (dalaals) at FMJ, House, when the raid was conducted is concerned, the SIT is presently conducting this part of the investigation and has examined most of the players involved in the illegitimate business of recycling of CSR funds. However, the middle men involved in this have so far evaded compliance of the summons of the SIT and the SIT intends to use more coercive methods to enforce compliance. The matter is also being investigated by the Income Tax authorities and investigations by the SIT shall also take into account the evidences collected by the IT authorities.

Investigations, however, have revealed that attempts to recycle CSR funds through charities associated with Father Anthony and the church he is associated with, was being made through the middle men who were present at FMJ House at the time of raid by Khanna police.

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