Jalandhar priest raid & recovery stays ‘whodunit’; 2 cops face sack - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Sunday, August 11, 2019

Jalandhar priest raid & recovery stays ‘whodunit’; 2 cops face sack


Jalandhar priest raid & recovery stays ‘whodunit’; 2 cops face sack

Aman Sood
Tribune News Service
Patiala, August 10

Over four months after the Khanna police went out of their jurisdiction without “any approval” to raid a priest’s house in Jalandhar, the Punjab Police are in the process of ordering the dismissal of erring cops “part of the raiding party”. 

Meanwhile, mystery persists on the ‘missing’ Rs 1.2 crore of the Rs 16.65 crore purportedly seized from Father Anthony of the Jalandhar Diocese on March 26. The Patiala police have held a departmental probe into the alleged role of ASIs Joginder Singh and Rajpreet Singh, whose statements helped the investigating team recover Rs 4.60 crore. 

A senior cop, who was part of the raiding party, is missing from duty. He has reportedly gone abroad, which raises suspicion.  “We will soon recommend their dismissal from service. Two more cops are under scanner too,” said a top official. 

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) handling the case claimed that accused ASIs Joginder Singh and Rajpreet Singh had returned the sum ‘pilfered’ from the confiscated amount. 

“The fact is that an amount of Rs 1.2 crore is still missing, as claimed by the priest. We had asked him to furnish documents to support his claim, but he is yet to approach us,” said AIG Rakesh Kaushal, who is probing the case. 

“Two cops face certain dismissal. The Patiala police have almost completed the departmental probe. But the case is yet to be cracked. None has been given a clean chit,” Kaushal said. 

Two ASIs of the Khanna police were arrested for allegedly pocketing Rs 5.8 crore from the seized amount. A sum of Rs 4.60 crore has been recovered from them so far. The Khanna police had claimed to have seized Rs 9.66 crore at a naka in Khanna during elections when the poll code was in force.

Father Anthony has taken up the issue with the police and the Income Tax Department and sought that the entire Rs 16.65 crore ‘seized’ money be released forthwith. He approached the HC too. “The court has not ordered that the cash, which is with the I-T Department and the Punjab Police, be released,” said an official associated with the probe. 

The police has been scanning the financial records of firm named ‘Sahodya’ which deals with the purchase of books and stationery for schools run by the Jalandhar Diocese. The SAD has been critical of the Congress government for posting the officer, who headed the Khanna police when the raid took place, back as SSP. “Despite over Rs 1 crore missing, the government gave a plum posting to the officer who was shifted by the EC,” Bikram Majithia pointed out.

LAPSES GALORE

  • No videography done when the cash was seized and counted 
  • No ASI booked or arrested on priest’s ‘cash missing’ claim 
  • Jalandhar police not taken into confidence on the matter
  • Cash shown recovered from a vehicle on the national highway
  • Two ‘police cats’ allowed to lead the ‘sting operation’ 
  • FIR filed in Mohali under Sec 406/34 and corruption charges
  • After media reports, SIT set up and robbery charges framed

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