Muktsar sarpanch held in 9-month-old murder case

Sarpanch of Kot Bhai village in Muktsar, Babu Singh, was arrested by the police on Thursday in the 9-month-old case of the alleged murder of Nirmal Singh.

Station house officer (SHO) of Kot Bhai police station Raman Kumar said the Babu was arrested based on custodial interrogation of the alleged mastermind of the crime, Navjot Singh and the statement of the deceased’s father.

Before the accused could be produced in court, his health deteriorated, and Babu was rushed to a hospital in Bathinda.

Muktsar senior superintendent of police (SSP) Opinderjit Singh Ghumman said Babu was under medical observation and out of danger.

Ghumman said after abducting Nirmal, Navjot had called the victim’s family to claim that Nirmal had been arrested in an NDPS case and he could help them secure his release, provided they paid him money.

“Nirmal was never arrested by the police, and investigation reveal that Navjot was trying to extort money from the victim’s family. The probe has revealed that Nirmal was killed by Navjot and others within hours of his abduction. Navjot’s role was under scanner in March as well after CCTV footage showed him in the company of Nirmal. But at that time, probably, the investigators did not get any clue in the case,” added the SSP.

Questioning of Navjot, the mastermind in another case of alleged ransom and murder of 20-year-old Harman Singh, had led the district police to the recovery of a skeleton that is suspected of Nirmal Singh of Guri Sangar village in Muktsar.

The skeleton was found in the Chandbhan drain in Doda Bhullar village of Muktsar on December 21. Police said the accused stated that Nirmal died after Navjot and others hit him in the head and threw his body in the drain in March.

“In the custodial interrogation, Navjot revealed that Babu Singh was also actively involved in the alleged murder. The sarpanch will be interrogated for further details,” said the SHO.

On Wednesday, Sukhbir Singh, a resident of Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda, was also arrested in the Nirmal murder case.

In March this year, Nirmal was reported missing under mysterious circumstances. As per the first information report (FIR) of the missing person lodged at Kot Bhai police station on March 20, Nirmal’s father Manjit Singh had raised suspicions of his son’s abduction.

An investigation into the matter remained inconclusive. However, during the investigation of another ransom and murder case, the Muktsar police arrested Navjot from Lucknow on December 17 after he returned from Dubai.