July 6, 2014 | By Parmjeet Singh
Jalandhar, Punjab (July 06, 2014): According to media reports Ramneet Singh Uppal “Romy” (24), son for a late-cop and convict in murderous attack on a foreign citizen, has jumped parole and flown abroad between March and April. The attack had left Burundi student Yannick Nihangaza comatose for two years until his death lately.
Yannick, who was the student of computer engineering at Lovely Professional University in Jalandhar, was the victim of mindless violence, which many felt also had racial overtones. He was attacked in the Defence Colony area of Jalandhar on the night of April 21, 2012 by nine local youths, all in their mid-20s and from well-off families.
On January 15, he had lost his father, superintendent of police Dharam Singh Uppal, to the stress of his involvement in the case.
According to Hindustan Times (HT) [t]op officers in the police commissionerate have ruled out the possibility but other sources confirm that Ramneet fled the country after attending the wedding of a close relative.
As per information on March 6, Ramneet Uppal came out on 28-day parole and failed to report back on April 4 in the Kapurthala jail. The district administration got an input that he had jumped parole and the police commissionerate had failed to catch him. In May, the administration forfeited his parole bond for Rs. 2 lakh.
According to HT [t]he police authorities are also unaware about the arrest of Jaskaran Singh Kalsi “Jassa”, one of the proclaimed offenders in this case, in New South Wales, Australia.
HT has reprtedly access to documents showing that Australian officer Andrews Aaron Charles had arrested the Indian driver under the Extradition Act of his country and an Australian court had denied him bail.
On March 18, an Australian Capital Territory magistrate had issued arrest warrants against Kalsi on behalf of India. “We don’t know if Ramneet is outside country but when he jumped parole in May, a case was registered,” said police commissioner Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, promising action against those who filed the parole bond and saying he had no clue about the arrest of Jassa in Australia.Yannick Nihangaza’s case was a major embarrassment for the Punjab government as the police had not arrested the assailants for more than two months despite the brutality of the attack. Only after reports in the media did the officials gear up and five assailants were arrested within a week. In all, seven people were arrested while two are absconding. Many believe slow police action allowed the accused to slip away.
On October 24, 2013 seven of the accused were convicted and sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment by a Jalandhar court for attempt to murder. Two more accused did not stand trial as they were declared proclaimed offenders.
The court held seven attackers (Sumit Ralhan, 25; Sahildeep Singh, 21; Amandeep Singh, 24; Ramneet Singh Uppal, 24; Harsh Gosai, 24; Jaswant Singh, 21; and Amanbir Singh Bajwa, 25) guilty of attempt to murder under Section 307 of the IPC. Sections 452 (house trespass after preparation for injuring or wrongful restraint), 323 (causing hurt voluntarily), 148 (armed riot), 120-B (criminal conspiracy); and 149 (unlawful assembly) were also applied before putting them in the Kapurthala jail.
Accused Jaskaran Singh and Rantaj Singh were declared proclaimed offenders. The former had flown to Australia on student visa after the incident.
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