March 12, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Patiala/Sunam, Punjab (March 12, 2013): Tejinder Singh Billu, a Punjab level footballer, was abducted and tortured by Punjab police 20 years ago, in 1993. He was 29 years old at that time. Punjab police subjected him to enforced disappearance and there were no whereabouts of Tejinder Singh till date.
Tejinder Singh’s father filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on July 7, 1994. The court formed a one-man committee comprising RC Kathuria, then district and sessions judge, Vigilance Bureau, Haryana, to investigate the matter. The committee submitted its report on January 30, 1995, observing that, “Either he (Tejinder Singh) has been killed or he is in illegal custody of police.”
The case was handed over to CBI on July 24, 1995 and CBI filed a chargesheet on April 4, 2006 for illegal confinement, abduction and criminal conspiracy.
Tejinder Singh’s family members fought courageous legal fight in adverse condition for 20 years.
“Though the family of late Tejinder Singh Billu found some solace after Preetpal Singh Virk and his accomplices were pronounced guilty 20 years after their heinous crime, the arduous journey took a heavy toll on the members, who had to face ‘pressure and mental torture’ from the police to settle the case” a Hindustan Times (HT) report states.
“Even death sentence to these cops is not enough to compensate for the mental harassment our family has undergone at the hands of the police. My brother was eliminated by the police while my father, who had also undergone torture along with Tejinder, died a few years ago because of the injuries he sustained then,” Jagrup Singh, elder brother of the victim, reportedly told HT outside the court. He runs a finance company in Sunam.
“Had my father been alive, he would have been the happiest man after the judgement; he was the one to lead our fight against the cops for bringing justice to our family,” said Tejinder Singh’ sister Kuldeep Kaur, who lives in Charan Bagh area of Patiala. She narrated how thoughts of police torture still haunt them.
Jagrup Singh further said that It was a hard-earned victory for them that tested their patience and truth as the police left no stone unturned to pressurise them to withdraw the case after the FIR was registered.
“The family was also offered money, besides receiving threats of dire consequences” the HT has reported.
According to a news reported by Ajit, a Punjabi vernacular, Surinder Kaur (75) and Sukhwinder Kaur (50); mother and wife of Tejinder Singh Billu, said that they would appeal to high court for enhancement of punishment awarded by the CBI court to the guilty cops.
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