- After one of the biggest ‘loots’ of recovered money by a raiding police party, questions are being raised about the “brazen manner” in which some police officers are functioning in Punjab and flouting rules with impunity
- Jalandhar-based priest has now informed SIT that the “looted cash” could have been Rs 5.31 crore and not Rs 6.66 cr as claimed earlier;
- The arrested ASIs had told Kerala police that they stashed away the cash to America and other countries, but the entire cash has been recovered by the SIT from Punjab
DW Correspondent / Chandigarh
While the recovery of Rs 4.71 crore from the possession of two Punjab police ASIs who were arrested by Kerala police on a specific input from the Punjab police recently has opened a Pandora’s box about the state of affairs in the police department, the role of the then Khanna SSP Dhruv Dahiya has also come under the scanner of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up by the Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta to probe the case.
Top police sources said the SIT was reasonably convinced that the entire amount “robbed” by the ASIs could be to the tune of Rs 4.71 crore and not Rs 6.66 crore as claimed by a Jalandhar-based priest earlier. After the sustained interrogation of the ASIs and other accused in the case, the SIT has now begun to look into the role of the then SSP Dahiya who allegedly made several claims that were contrary to the facts.
“We are almost sure that we have recovered the entire cash amount misappropriated by the Khanna police officials. Now, we are in the process of expanding the scope of the investigation and will look into the role of the then SSP Dahiya,” a senior police officer informed Daily World.
During several hours of interrogation at Khanna on Tuesday, the arrested ASIs – Rajpreet Singh and Joginder Singh – revealed that they had stashed away Rs 4.71 crore to ahrtiyas in Sangrur, some gangsters and their associates in different parts of Punjab before they went missing with the huge cash recovered from a priest’s house in Jalandhar a month ago. So far, they have told the police that the entire plan to gobble up cash worth crores was hatched by them on the spur of the moment while the search of the priest’s house was on and that what they did was not in the knowledge of SSP Dahiya.
The priest, Father Antony Madasserry had claimed that besides Rs 9.66 crore shown on record as recovered after the raid at his house by the Khanna police, the ASIs had misappropriated Rs 6.66 crore recovered from the first floor of his house. It is learnt that he has now told the SIT that the amount pilfered by the police could have been only Rs 5.31 crore and not what was originally claimed by him. Over half a dozen other persons who colluded with the ASIs in the crime of stashing away the money pilfered by the raiding officials had also been arrested and are being questioned.
Police sources informed that the state police along with Income Tax officials are further investigating the case that is touted to be one of the “biggest loots” of cash recovered by police officials. They said the role of then SSP Khanna, Dahiya who ordered a team to raid the priest’s house out of his jurisdiction (Jalandhar) without informing or taking into confidence the local police will also be investigated thoroughly. After the raids in Jalandhar by Khanna police, the then SSP had repeatedly claimed to have recovered the cash amount at a special naka at Doraha, near Khanna. This claim, however, had soon fallen flat.
It is learnt that initially the two ASIs were apprehended and handed over to Khanna police on the instructions of senior police officers but the two managed to give a slip to the district police. This also raised many an eyebrow in the State Police Headquarters.
Sources said the statements of Dahiya in this case have not been consistent and require a deeper probe. When the Kerala police arrested the two ASIs, the interrogating officials reportedly claimed that the ASIs confessed to have stashed away the “looted amount” to the United States as well as some other countries through different channels. The same information was reportedly conveyed to his seniors in the police headquarters by the 2012-batch IPS officer, Dahiya. This theory, however, has found to be false after the recovery of almost the entire cash by the state police from different parts of Punjab.