CHANDIGARH — Harbhajan Singh, an alleged local smuggler and accomplice of ASI Dalbir Singh, who had gunned down Mr. Sital Dass and Mr. B. S. Brar, SSP and S.P. respectively, of Patialai, has been arrested by the Punjab police. Mr. Harbhajan Singh was a proclaimed offender in a case registered against him at an Amritsar police station some time ago. Although he was living in Chandigarh and the Punjab police knew about it, it is strange he was not arrested.

Informed sources said Mr. Harbhajan Singh had been smuggling gold and heroin from Pakistan for several years. He has a palatial bungalow in Sector 21.

The sources maintain that ASI Dalbir Singh was a partner in the smuggling business of Harbhajan Singh from whom he used to get a fat amount every month. It was for this reason that the ASI went to Jammu for kidnapping three children of a Jammu based smuggler who had declined to pay the money to Harbhajan Singh.

The Jammu and Kashmir Government had strongly resented the action of the ASI and banned the entry of the Punjab police into the State.

Reports have it that the local police had detained the suspected smuggler immediately after the murder of the SSP and the SP for interrogation. While the local police was interrogating and gathering information from him, the Patiala police approached the authorities concerned for his custody.

Harbhajan Singh was said to be fully aware of the activities of the ASI in Chandigarh. He was also a frequent visitor to the house of his beloved who first lived in Sector 36 but had later taken a house on rent in Sector 15.

Senior police officers, however, wonder why two promotions were given to Dalbir Singh by the Punjab Government in less than a year especially when it knew that he was a dismissed constable and had got back the job following a mercy petition. It also knew of his alleged links with militants.

They pointed out that it was not understood why he was permitted to carry his service revolver with him when he was being questioned by the deceased SSP and the SP.

Article extracted from this publication >> September 9, 1988